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.