Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Freddie Hubbard - Open Sesame (1960)

This blog laments the passing away of jazz trumpet giant Freddie Hubbard. To this end, some of his most representative recorded works will be presented.

A fitful way to start would be Hubbard's first album as a leader, Open Sesame. Recorded in 1960, it is not only a very good record, it dramatizes history in the making. The trumpeter was not unknown then, but he was still in his early years; so was pianist McCoy Tyner, for whom a momentous association with John Coltrane was just around the corner. Indeed, the best-known musician at the time of this recording was bassist Sam Jones, and while he went on to bigger things with Cannonball Adderley and then Oscar Peterson, it was Hubbard and Tyner who would emerge as unambiguously major figures. That by rights should also have characterized tenorist Tina Brooks, but this superb player (his work on "But Beautiful" here is exquisite) never got the recognition he deserved, dying almost forgotten in 1974 at the age of 42. Further highlights include the leader's "Hub's Nub" and the two takes apiece of the title track and "Gypsy Blue," both excellent compositions by Brooks. Mention should also be made of drummer Clifford Jarvis, a young lion steeped in Blakey, and Rudy Van Gelder's predictably flawless engineering. The music both invigorates and enchants.

Freddie Hubbard (1938-2008)

"Freddie Hubbard's mixture of forward-looking musical ideas and old-fashioned brassiness might be called the essence of the early-sixties Blue Note sound."

--Peter Keepnews

Freddie Hubbard first played and recorded in Indianapolis with the Montgomery brothers. After moving in 1958 to New York he began a series of brief associations with established jazz musicians, including Philly Joe Jones (1958-59, 1961), Sonny Rollins (1959), Slide Hampton (1959-60), J.J. Johnson (1960), and Quincy Jones, with whom he toured Europe (1960-61). In 1961 he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, but left in 1964 to lead his own group. He also played as a sideman with Max Roach (1965-66).

From 1966 Hubbard worked principally with his own quintets and quartets, though he made a tour of the USA with Herbie Hancock's group V.S.O.P. in 1977. His most constant sideman was Kenny Barron, who played in his groups of the late 1960s (with Louis Hayes), early 1970s (with Hayes and Junior Cook), and early 1980s (with Buster Williams and Al Foster). In the mid-1980s Hubbard made a number of international tours and recorded with all-star groups, often in the company of Joe Henderson, playing a repertory of hard-bop and modal-jazz pieces. He continues to perform and record as a leader, and in 1985 made an album with Woody Shaw.

Hubbard has recorded scores of bop, modal-jazz and jazz-rock albums, both as a sideman and as a leader. In the early 1960s he also participated in such radically experimental sessionsas those for Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz and John Coltrane's Ascension albums, but was subsequently criticized for his overly conventional playing. His recordings of the mid-1960s with Hancock placed him among the foremost hard-bop trumpeters, his improvisations combining imaginative melody with a glossy tone, rapid and clean technique, a brilliant high register, a subtle vibrato, and bluesy, squeezed half-valve notes.

In the early 1970s he issued several commercially successful albums with musicians who had formerly played with Miles Davis (Straight Life won a Grammy Award), but for the remainder of the decade he unsuccessfully sought widespread recognition and financial security. He tried funk, all-electronic rock, disco, and overarranged pop music, and concentrated on ostentatious virtuoso displays; his trademark, a climactic trill between nonadjacent pitches (a shake), became a cliche.

During the 1980s, however, he reverted to his former style, improvising on lyrical ballads and complex bop tunes; unfortunately the histrionic elements did not entirely disappear from his playing.

--BARRY KERNFELD, The New Grove Dictionary Of Jazz

A selected discography of Freddie Hubbard albums.

* Open Sesame, 1960, Blue Note.
* Hub Cap, 1961, Blue Note.
* Ready For Freddie, 1961, Blue Note.
* Artistry Of Freddie Hubbard, 1962, Impulse!
* Red Clay, 1970, CTI.
* Straight Life, 1970, CTI.
* Born To Be Blue, 1981, Pablo.

Monday, December 22, 2008

David Sanborn - timeagain (2003)

A few posts back we claimed that this blog is dedicated to lesser-known jazz musicians deserving wider recognition. We'll break this rule for now on behalf of this great David Sanborn offering for Verve records, infused in the kind of polished, expertly delivered jazz Sanborn is famous for, with excellent choice of material to boot. Listening to it is like wearing an old, favorite pair of slippers, the perfect holiday companion imo. Enjoy and happy holidays to everyone out there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lew Soloff - With A Song In My Heart (1998)

Trumpeter Lew Soloff (1948 - ) might have cut his musical teeth with jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears during the late '60s (one's got to pay the rent somehow), but he is a jazzman to the bone. His collaborations read like a jazz Who is Who including the likes of Machito, Gil Evans, Tony Scott, Tito Puente, Clark Terry, Mongo Santamaria, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, the Gil Evans Big Band, Stanley Clarke, Jon Faddis, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Bill Evans, Carla Bley, Ray Anderson, Franco Ambrosetti, Ornette Coleman, Tony Bennett, Louie Bellson, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Magic City Jazz Orchestra, the Bohuslän Big Band, the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and last but not least the George Russell Big Band (see previous post).

This 1998 offering teams up Lew with a dream rhythm section consisting of pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist George Mraz and drummer Victor Lewis as well as Emily Mitchell, Soloff's wife, playing the harp (the Harpo Marx type, not the harmonica) on two of the nine album cuts, one of which is a movement from a Tchaikovsky symphony.

Needless to say that the interplay between these top musicians is top-notch (pun intended) as embedded track Come Rain Or Come Shine amply demonstrates. Material is painstakingly chosen and sequenced to provide that winter-by-the-fireplace-holding-a-glass-of-brandy CD so rare nowadays, enjoy.

*this post is dedicated to my dear friend L.

Friday, December 12, 2008

George Russell - New York Big Band (1978)

George Allen Russell (1923 - ), American jazz pianist, composer and theorist, is considered one of the first jazz musicians to contribute to general music theory with a theory of harmony based on Jazz rather than European music, in his 1953 book, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization which paved the way for the modal revolutions of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Russell's stylistic reach in his own compositions eventually became omnivorous, embracing bop, gospel, blues, rock, funk, contemporary classical elements, electronic music and African rhythms in his recent, ambitious extended works -- most apparent in his large-scale 1983 suite for an enlarged big band, The African Game. Like his colleague Gil Evans, Russell never stopped growing, but his work is not nearly as well-known that that of Evans, being more difficult to grasp and, in any case, not as well-documented by U.S. record labels.

We try to remedy this here with this magnificent 1978 session when Russell led a 19-piece big band at New York's Village Vanguard for six weeks, in a tremendously diverse performance displaying the many facets of his art -- including his first famous composition, the two-part "Cubano Be, Cubano Bop" written in 1947 for the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra that served as a solid vehicle of that band's pioneering experiments in fusing bebop and Cuban jazz elements, enjoy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Buck Clayton - Jam Sessions From The Vault (1955-56)

Let's turn the clock back a bit and imagine it's 1955. Trumpeter Buck Clayton led a series of exciting studio jam sessions then in the company of stalwart swing soloists Joe Newman, Joe Thomas, Billy Butterfield, and Ruby Braff on trumpets; trombonists Urbie Green, Benny Powell, Henderson Chambers, Trummy Young, Bennie Green, Dicky Harris, J.C. Higginbotham, and Tyree Glenn; altoist Lem Davis; tenors Coleman Hawkins, Al Cohn, and Buddy Tate; Julian Dash doubling on tenor and alto; baritonist Charlie Fowlkes; several rhythm sections with pianists Sir Charles Thompson, Jimmy Jones, Billy Kyle, Ken Kersey, and the forgotten Al Waslohn. Results are trouser-flapping, unadulterated swing of the highest order and in pristine sonic quality to boot. Swing lovers should not miss this one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Georges Arvanitas - Solo

In this great solo piano set from 1997 Arvanitas displays in spades what separates the men from the boys. His choice of material is impeccable and spans the whole history of jazz piano from Scott Joplin to Chick Corea.

1. The Entertainer
2. Rosetta
3. Ain't Mishbehavin
4. Blue And Sentimental
5. Come Sunday
6. Piano Is Art
7. Chelsea Bridge
8. This Way Out
9. Misty
10. Boucing With Bud
11. Monk's Mood
12. D & E
13. DJango
14. The Duke
15. Nica's Dream
16. Very Early
17. Dolphin Dance
18. Windows
19. Beautiful Florence

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Georges Arvanitas (1931 - 2005)

The web abounds with excellent jazz blogs who present major jazz masters, past and present, in a most comprehensive and respectful manner. As regular visitors of this blog should know by now, what we do here is try to raise awareness for lesser-known jazz artists who, either due to luck (or lack thereof) or choice never earned the recognition they so rightfully deserved.

One such artist is Georges Arvanitas, a French pianist born in 1931 in Marseilles from Greek immigrant parents, a figure of cult status in his native country as well as among visiting US musicians as a highly respected session contributor; he earned the nickname "Georges Une Prise" ("One-take George") for his reliable efficiency and mastery as can be seen on video below filmed in Brussels in 1962 displaying him accompanying the Hawk, the great Coleman Hawkins, with great verve.

He accompanied and recorder with the likes of Don Byas, Mezz Mezzrow, Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Slide Hampton and many others; LPs with his name command astronomical prices in France among collectors. Rumor has it that on Psychiemotus, a 1964 Impulse! Yusef Lateef date on which Arvanitas performed piano duties, Lateef was so smitten by his playing that the album's last piece is an unaccompanied piano rendition of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehaving.

He was the recipient of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award in 1985 for lifetime services; Arvanitas was at home with every jazz piano idiom as I had the chance to witness during the various times I've seen him live and as these offerings from the 90s amply demonstrate, enjoy.

A great all-Gershwin set.

Ditto, but this time it's the Duke who gets the Arvanitas treatment and we get the chance to hear Take The 'A' train, Duke's signature piece, in 5/4 time - a must-listen.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuck Andress - Reckless Precision (1990)

Continuing our presentation of great fingerstyle guitar virtuosi, let's enjoy Tuck Andress tackling an eclectic bag of covers on an album recorded with "no overdubbing, punching in or fixing of mistakes." - it's just the man and his Gibson L-5.


1. Man In The Mirror 3:51
2. Over The Rainbow / If I Only Had A Brain 4:41
3. Louie Louie 3:44
4. Body And Soul 4:56
5. Sweet P 4:09
6. Stella By Starlight 4:29
7. Manonash 3:55
8. Manha De Carnaval 5:35
9. Grooves Of Joy 11:05
10. Begin The Beguine 3:19

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lenny Breau - Last Sessions

Breau's last offering before his untimely death, an introspective set of unaccompanied guitar sketches in the form of etudes, a testament to the man's genius on the instrument.

1. Ebony Queen/Pam's Pad #2
2. Meanwhile Back in L.A.
3. Paris
4. Ba de da Da
5. Feelings
6. I Love You
7. Untitled Standard
8. But Beautiful #2
8. Beautiful Love

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Velvet Touch Of Lennie Breau - Live! (1969)

A great performance recorded live at historic jazz venue Shelly's Manne Hole in LA for RCA records. In it we can hear the complexity of Lenny Breau's guitar approach in material so diverse as jazz and pop standards (No Greater Love, A Taste of Honey), jazz waltzes (Bluesette), Indian ragas (Indian Reflections for Ravi), Spanish flamenco (Spanjazz), straight-ahead bluegrass (The Claw), funky jazz (Mercy, Mercy) and then some. He is ably accompanied by Reg Kelln on drums and Ron Halldorson on electric bass.

Listeners are kindly requested to excuse the clicks and pops as this was ripped from the original vinyl, but then again that being 1969 the above might seem essential in order to convey that all-important period feel, enjoy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lenny Breau - Five O’clock Bells & Mo’ Bro

Lenny Breau (August 5, 1941–August 12, 1984). A guitarist's guitarist, Bill Evans of the guitar, a phenomenal guitarist at ease with all contemporary and classical guitar styles. All the above hold true of course, but one has to listen to the man in order to feel the emotion he coaxes out of these six strings as these two LPs on one CD display.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Miriam Makeba (1932 - 2008)

Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 - 9 November 2008) was a South African singer and civil rights activist. The Grammy Award winning afro-beat artist is often referred to as Mama Afrika. Along with Harry Belafonte, Makeba is an early icon of black identity, and her outspoken views gained her as much attention as her music. But one thing that MAMA AFRICA emphasizes is how consistent and appealing Makeba remained as a singer and synthesizer of styles. This is a fine overview of this vibrant and enduring cultural legend.

This 25-song set spans a hefty chunk of Miriam Makeba’s career, reaching back to the 1950s and moving up through the ‘60s and ‘70s. Represented here are Makeba’s recording with the Manhattan Brothers, as well as her acclaimed solo work, which blends American popular styles with indigenous African sounds.

This is Pata Pata, maybe the song she's most associated with.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mitch Mitchell (1947 - 2008)

AP - PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group's last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday. He was 61.

Mitchell was a powerful force on the Hendrix band's 1967 debut album "Are You Experienced?" as well as the trio's albums "Electric Ladyland" and "Axis: Bold As Love." He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as "Fire" and "Manic Depression."

The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.

Hendrix died in 1970. Bass player Noel Redding died in 2003.

Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.
"He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend," said Janie Hendrix, chief executive of the Experience Hendrix Tour and Jimi Hendrix' stepsister. "His role in shaping the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience cannot be underestimated."

Mitch Mitchell brought a whole new approach to rock drumming as he was heavily influenced by drummer Elvin Jones' polyrhythms, something he was never shy of admitting. Embedded vid below shows what a creative force Mitch was, propelling Jimi Hendrix's music at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970. RIP Mitch, you won't be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New York Stories Vol. 1

For the making of this rare, out-of-print gem from 1992 some stellar performers gathered in NYC to celebrate the time-honored habit of the studio jam session. The gentlemen in question were the great late Danny Gatton on guitar, Bobby Watson on alto sax, Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Joshua Redman on tenor sax (on his first recording), Franck Amsallem on piano, Charles Fambrough on bass and Yuron Israel on drums. The concept was that each musician would bring a composition to the studio where it was recorded in the least takes possible in order to convey that live feel. The results might not be of Miles' So What proportions (which was recorded in the exact same way), but these guys show the world what an accomplished jazz player knowing his chops can do in a spontaneous musical situation - and they can do a lot. Alas, this splendid idea from the Blue Note label is laying at the bottom of the Ocean of Great Jazz Ideas and a Vol.2 was never released, so we have to cherish Vol.1 we have here as much as we can, enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Live at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago Vol.2 [1973]

This post brings our tribute to this great jazzman and human being to a close. For anyone interested to delve more in depth into this extraordinary man's life and times, I heartily recommend his autobiography Raise Up Off Me.

Hampton Hawes (p)
Cecil McBee (b)
Roy Haynes (d)

MC By Joe Segal
Blue Bird / Blue Vamp
My Funny Valentine
MC By Hampton Hawes
Walking Around The Town
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Carson Blues
Spanish Mood

Rec. Chicago, IL, June 1973

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hampton Hawes / Charlie Haden - As Long As There's Music (1976)

This blog celebrates Barack Obama's victory, reminding everyone that the Afro-American community in the US has contributed more than any other community towards what we call culture and for a nation to achieve culture is to enter a state of grace. In my mind, no greater ambassadors of that achievement than these mythical jazz figures we try to present here ever existed.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Playin' In The Yard

Very groovy Hawes date from the renown Montreux Jazz Festival. Hampton plays the Fender Rhodes along with the piano accompanied by Bob Cranshaw on electric bass and drum legend Kenny Clarke. An electrified and fonkified set then as Dr. John would have said.

Playin’ In The Yard -
Double Trouble -
Pink Peaches -
De Be -
Stella By Starlight -

Rec. live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Casino De Montreux, Switzerland, July 7, 1973

* Hampton Hawes - Playin’ In The Yard (Prestige P 10077)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hampton Hawes Trio - Here And Now (1965)

Hampton Hawes (p)
Chuck Israels (b)
Donald Bailey (d)

Fly Me To The Moon
What Kind Of Fool Am I? -
The Girl From Ipanema -
Rhonda -
Dear Heart -
People -
Chim Chim Cheree -
The Days Of Wine And Roses -

* Hampton Hawes - Here And Now (Contemporary M 3616, S 7616; Fantasy OJC 178, OJCCD 178-2)

Rec. Los Angeles, CA, May 12, 1965

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hampton Hawes Trio - High In The Sky (1970)

A little - known gem in Haws' discography, this trio recording finds him in the company of old acquaintances Leroy Vinegar and Donald Bailey in an all - original program plus the ever present The Look Of Love (it's 1970 remember?). Superb playing throughout.

Track Listing:

High In The Sky
Spanish Girl
The Look Of Love
Evening Trane
Muffin Man

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hampton Hawes Trio -The Seance (1966)

Second part of the April 30 and May 1, 1966 performance at Mitchell’s Studio Club, Los Angeles (first part was “I’m All Smiles", see below).

Hampton Hawes (p) Red Mitchell (b) Donald Bailey (d)

Rec. live at Mitchell's Studio Club, Los Angeles CA, April 30 - May 1, 1966

The Seance Contemporary M 3621

The Seance
Easy Street
Suddenly I Thought Of You
For Heaven's Sake
My Romance

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Live at the Montmartre (1971)

We continue our Hawes crusade with another great live performance, this time at the famous “Jazzhus Montmartre” in Copenhagen on September 2, 1971.

Blowing is more open and relaxed this time, maybe Hawes was tackling the style du jour or he was just in a more somber mood, at any rate the playing is superb throughout - he even enters pop territory exploring Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love with You" in his own, unique way. And lest I forget, we have the added bonus of Dexter Gordon joining in for some serious chops exchange on the aptly named blues Dexter's Deck , enjoy.


Hampton Hawes: piano
Henry Franklin: bass
Michael Carvin: drums
Dexter Gordon: tenor sax on Dexter’s Deck

Track Listing:

The Camel
Little Miss Laurie
Broad Blue Acres
This Guy’s In Love With You
Spanish Way
Dexter’s Deck

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Something Special (1976)

Yet another Hawes great live date from 1976 at the renown Douglas Beach House at Half Moon Bay in San Fransisco (seen below circa 1958), home to the best jazz for the last 50 years in, well, beach house settings. Just joking here as jazz doesn't have to have the pomp and circumstance of other 'serious' music idioms and bliss can be achieved in meager surroundings like this one if audience reaction is to be taken into account.


Hampton Hawes (p)
Denny Diaz (g)
Leroy Vinnegar (b)
Al Williams (d)

Recorded at the Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay, CA, June 10, 1976

Track Listing

BD & DS Blues
Pablito -
Sunny -
Nice Meanderings -
St. Thomas -
Fly Me To The Moon -

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eddie Costa - The House Of Blue Lights (1959)

An amazingly individual and very little known vibes and piano virtuoso who was sadly robbed from jazz in a fatal car accident at the insanely young age of 32 in his last piano trio recording as a leader - a must listen. His approach to the keyboard brings to mind Lennie Tristano, no less.

Eddie Costa (p)
Wendell Marshall (b)
Paul Motian (ds)

Track Listing
1. House of Blue Lights (Gigi Gryce)
2. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart)
3. Diane (E. Rapee-L. Pollack)
4. Annabelle (Eddie Costa)
5. When I Fall in Love (Heyman-Young)
6. What’s to Ya (Eddie Costa)

Recorded in NYC, Jan. 29 & Feb. 2, 1959

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pedro Iturralde Quartet featuring Hampton Hawes (1968)

Great music from Spanish multi - reedist Pedro Iturralde and his quartet circa 1968 featuring the great Hampton Hawes who was visiting Europe at the time with both men at the peak of their powers -- this is jazz of the take-no-prisoners-late-night kind, enjoy


Pedro Iturralde: reeds
Hampton Hawes: piano
Eric Peter: bass
Peer Wyboris: drums

Track listing

On Green Dolphin Street
Black Forest (Hampton Hawes) Blues
Autumn Leaves
Moonlight In Vermont
My Funny Valentine

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hampton Hawes - I'm All Smiles (1966)

Another great Hawes date recorded on April 30 and May 1, 1966 in performance at Mitchell's Studio Club in LA in the able company of Messrs Red Mitchell on bass and Donald Bailey on drums clearly demonstrating that the best jazz is live jazz.

Track Listing:

I'm All Smiles
Manha De Carnaval
Spring Is Here
The Shadow Of Your Smile

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hampton Hawes & Martial Solal - Key For Two (1968)

Enter two African - Americans, one of them living permanently in France (Kenny Clarke) and two Frenchmen, one of them being born in Algiers (a pied noir or "black foot" as the Frenchies call them), two pianos, a bass and a set of drums and a very interesting musical situation can develop. I know, a jazz quartet with two pianos sounds bizarre but if you are a virtuoso in the mold of Hampton Hawes and Martial Solal these are mere formalities, enjoy.

Hampton Hawes: piano
Martial Solal: piano
Pierre Michelot: bass
Kenny "Clook" Clarke: drums

Rec. Paris, Jan. 1968

Track listing:
Key For Two
Stella By Stralight
Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most
Bag's Groove
Lover, Come Back To Me
Fly Me To The Moon
The Theme
Three For Two

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hampton Hawes - The Green Leaves Of Summer (1964)

This 1964 recording was Hampton Hawes’s first in more than five years. It radiates the sense of freedom the pianist felt after John F. Kennedy granted him a presidential pardon halfway through a ten-year sentence for substantial indiscretion. The session made it plain that Hawes was still one of the most important pianists in jazz, as inventive as ever and with added richness in his harmonic structures. Hawes heard special qualities in Dmitri Tiomkin’s “The Green Leaves of Summer,” gave it one of his loveliest introductions, and made it a memorable jazz waltz. The album has special treatments of pieces by Davis, Rollins, Arlen, and Berlin, and includes one of Hawes’s custom-tailored blues.

with Monk Montgomery (Wes' brother) on bass and Steve Ellington on drums.


* 1. Vierd Blues
* 2. The Green Leaves Of Summer
* 3. Ill Wind
* 4. St. Thomas
* 5. Secret Love
* 6. Blue Skies
* 7. The More I See You
* 8. G.K. Blues

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Spanish Steps (1968)

A rare gem that never made it on CD to my knowledge. Recorded in Paris in 1968 while being on a world tour, featuring some achingly beautiful playing of Hawes' second post - prison phase with superb original compositions, ably accompanied by Jimmy Woode on bass and Arthur Taylor on drums.


1. Blues Enough
2. Sonora
3. Black Forest
4. Dangerous
5. Spanish Steps
6. My Romance

(mp3 320 kbps)

Hampton Hawes - For Real! (1958)

A great date, Hampton’s last before he served his 5 year drug - related jail term (and was pardoned by JFK) accompanied by bass legend Scott LaFaro (who was a member of the first great Bill Evans Trio before his tragic death in a car accident at the age of 26) Harold Land on sax, and Frank Butler on drums.

Quality: FLAC

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hampton Hawes - The Trio Vols 1 - 3 (1955-56)

Hampton Hawes' amazing string of trio albums recorded between June 1955 and Jan. 1956 superbly accompanied by Red Mitchell on bass and Chuck Thompson on drums.

Lovingly recorded by Contemporary Records' Lester Koenig and his recording engineer Roy DuNann (the West Coast equivalent of Rudy Van Gelder) employing state-of-the-art techniques and defining the sound of the day - crisp, clear and balanced.

In the video that follows, we can cherish the magic of Hampton Hawes in an all - star quartet setting with Bob Cooper on tenor sax, Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums at the latter's famous jazz club Shelly's Manne Hole in California circa 1970.

This is jazz of the highest order (in luscious FLAC), enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bobby Enriquez - The Prodigious Piano Of (1991)

With Richard Reid and John Pena on bass and Alex Acuna of Weather Report fame on drums, one of the best renditions of Chick Corea's latin anthem "Spain" these ears have heard (watch embedded video below).

1. Spain 9:16
2. Just The Way You Are 6:17
3. Boplicity 5:34
4. Pete Kelley’s Blues 5:29
5. Hi-Fly 5:59
6. Willow Weep For Me 7:17
7. There'll Never Be Another You 5:34
8. Bobby’s Dream 6:46
9. Yesterdays 3:58
10. Night In Tunisia / Tonga 10:24

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bobby Enriquez (1943 - 1996)

A tribute to the late and criminally underrated Filipino jazz piano giant Bobby Enriquez (1943 - 1996) who was playing professionally by the age of 12. His playing embodies the reckless abandon, the joie de vivre that characterizes the best of jazz along with an unparalleled mastery of the keyboard and its nuances, a cross between Art Tatum and Erroll Garner and everything you care to throw in between - a must listen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tal Farlow - Tal (1956)

Talmage Holt Farlow (June 7, 1921 – July 25, 1998), better known as Tal Farlow, was a jazz guitarist born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1921. Nearly as famous for his reluctance to play as for his outstanding abilities, Tal did not take up the instrument until he was already 21, but within a year was playing professionally and in 1948 was with Marjorie Hyams’ band. While with the Red Norvo Trio (which originally included Charles Mingus) from 1949-1953, Farlow became famous in the jazz world. His huge hands and ability to play rapid yet light lines made him one of the top guitarists of the era. After six months with Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five in 1953, Farlow put together his own group, which for a time included pianist Eddie Costa. Late in 1958, Farlow settled in Sea Bright, New Jersey, became a sign painter, and just played locally. He only made one record as a leader during 1960-1975, but emerged a bit more often during 1976-1984, recording for Concord fairly regularly before largely disappearing again. Profiled in the definitive documentary Talmage Farlow, the guitarist can be heard on his own records for Blue Note (1954), Verve, Prestige (1969), and Concord. He died of cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City on July 25, 1998 at the age of 77.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monty Alexander Trio - Montreux, Switzerland, June 10, 1976

Pianist Monty Alexander did some of his finest recordings for the German MPS label with this one maybe being his best. This live trio set recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in June 1976 with bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton, features Alexander playing his usual repertoire of the period with blues, standards ("Satin Doll," "Work Song" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic") and even a version of schmaltzy "Feelings", so in vogue at the time, that uplifts the song quite a bit. The trio's soulful approach and extended improvisations to the generally familiar melodies make them sound fresh and swinging like mad. Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard it might not be, but it sure is one of the swinginest live piano trio recordings in all of jazz for my money, if the enthusiastic audience response is any measure.

this video is Night Mist Blues from the very same recording.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jaco Pastorius

During humanity's beautiful musical journey every once in a while a rare individual appears who approaches music and communicates his musical vision through his instrument in ways that were deemed impossible heretofore.

Jaco Pastorius (1951 - 1987) was unquestionably one of those individuals and his seminal debut album is as relevant today as it was back then.

Willis "Gator" Jackson - Bar Wars (1977)

Floridian tenor sax player Willis "The Gator" Jackson (1932 - 1987) seen below on a rare 1955 clip, was a force to be reckoned with. With an instantly recognizable (and huge) voice, echoes of past master Illinois Jacquet can be heard throughout his playing. He recorded a string of landmark albums for the Muse label back in the 70s with this one maybe being the best of the lot, guaranteed to scrape the plaster off your walls. With Charles Earland on organ, Pat Martino on guitar and Idris Muhammad on drums in luscious APE, enjoy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson - Blue Guitars Vols I & II

Two great guitarists, the first man to transform the guitar into a jazz solo instrument, Eddie Lang (1902 - 1933) whose influence over generations of guitarists cannot be overstated meets jazz/blues legend Lonnie Johnson in this set of virtuoso recordings -- timeless and priceless...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ivan “Boogaloo Joe” Jones - Mindbender/My Fire (1968)

Ladies and gentlemen, pls meet Mr Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones, the king of acid jazz guitar for my money - with Harold Mabern on piano and Ron Carter on bass.

Milt Jackson / Ray Brown Jam - Montreux '77

An unstoppable swinging affair organized by famous producer Norman Granz who took his Jazz At The Philharmonic troupe across the Atlantic in Montreux, Switzerland to give us this gem. With Mess Milt Jackson on vibes, Ray Brown on bass, Clark Terry on trumpet, Monty Alexander on piano and Jimmie Smith on drums.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Joe Zawinul - Faces & Places (2002)

Joe Zawinul, at the age of 70, has brought forth an album that continues to celebrate his endless delight in exploring music from around the world.

Faces & Places mixes vocalists and instrumentalists with daring grace. “Rooftops of Vienna” is a wistful ode that’s tinged with the sweetly sad backward glances of a man growing older and finding his boyhood home darting through his dreams. It uses singers as part of the musical stew, rather than as a narrative component. With its blend of exotic acoustic instruments and contemporary electronics, this set is very much in keeping with the direction of Weather Report from the time of Black Market and beyond.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Joe Zawinul + The Zawinul Syndicate: World Tour 1997

Another tribute to this giant of contemporary music who played world music some decades before the term was even coined. An amazing and truly international band, featuring the talents of some of the world's greatest musicians in the likes of Paco Sery, Manolo Badrena, Victor Bailey, Richard Bona et al. The music is beautiful, uplifting and transcendental at times, definitely not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shelly Manne And His Men At The Blackhwak (1959)

Now, what can be said about this great hipster, club owner and breeder of horses? His musicality was unparalleled, always unassuming, always serving the music. He almost singlehandedly defined West Coast Jazz, he played behind everyone who was someone and his music graced tons of TV programs and movies we still love today. These recordings, maybe the finest, most relaxed live recordings I've heard with his Men Joe Gordon, Richie Camuca Monty Budwig and Victor Feldman at his now defunct club serve as a fine testament to the man's genius.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dave Pike - Charles McPherson : Bluebird (1989)

A classic straight ahead bop set from two real jazz veterans. Dave Pike’s vibes and Charles McPherson’s horn have been gracing our ears since the 60’s and this Bird - inspired set displays their magnificent skills to great effect - timeless indeed…

1. Scrapple From The Apple
2. Embraceable You
3. Visa
4. Old Folks
5. Bluebird
6. Anthropology
7. Ornithology
8. Bluebird

as a bonus, a McPherson clip from my channel on Dailymotion with the great Kenny Barron on piano, enjoy.

Dave Pike - Manhattan Latin (1964)

A great Latin - tinged album as the title suggests from 1964, with loungey artwork to die for to boot, featuring the combined talents of Messrs Dave Pike on vibes, the great Hungarian Attila Zoller on guitar, Joseph Grimaldi on flute, Hubert Laws on piccolo and tenor saxophones, Dave Burns on trumpet, Ray Copeland on flugelhorn, a young Chick Corea and Don Friedman sharing piano duties, Israel "Cachao" Lopez and Jack Six on bass and last but not least legend Willie Bobo on drums.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pat Martino - Live At Yoshi's (2001)

Lovers of the lush Hammond B3 - guitar sound have ample reason to rejoice with this tour de force of a live set that took place at San Francisco's famed Yoshi's jazz club in 2001. Martino is accompanied by wunderkind Joey DeFrancesco on B3 organ and Billy Hart on drums, a power trio then and the closest you can get to Cream in a jazz context to my ears at least -- amazing interplay throughout.