Friday, November 27, 2009

Tim Hagans & Marcus Printup - HubSongs - The Music of Freddie Hubbard

The Hub, of course, is Freddie Hubbard and although he doesn't play he's definitely at the center of this recording. Freddie picked and arranged the tunes, which are, save for one, all Hubbard originals. Hagans and Printup have both expressed their admiration for Hubbard's work and their delight in tackling his sometimes complex music is evident throughout. The bulk of the material is drawn from Hubbard's hard bop days at BlueNote and his jazz/funk output for the Atlantic label. Vincent Herring (alto), Javon Jackson (tenor), Benny Green (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums) provide the twin trumpeters with "all-star" support. Green is most effective in a duo role with Hagans and Printup while Jackson gets to strut his stuff on "Thermo", a bop classic that dates back to Hubbard's tenure with Art Blakey. Herring is best heard on an intense performance of "Life Flight". The real stars of this date are, of course, Tim and Marcus. I'm betting that Freddie was thrilled by their crackling interplay and inventive improvisations on this terrific "tribute" CD. ~ John Sharpe @

1. Backlash
2. Happy Times
3. Hub Cap
4. Lament For Booker
5. On the que-Tee
6. Crisis
7. Byrd Like
8. Thermo
9. Up Jumped Spring
10. Life Flight

Release Date: Jan. 13, 1998
Recorded at Avatar Studio C, New York, New York on August 1 & 2, 1997
Produced & arranged by Freddie Hubbard
High-rez recording mastered from 20-bit sources

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Gil Evans Orchestra - Little Wing (Live 1978)

Let's stick to the '70s for a bit and this gem of a recording featuring Gil Evans and his superb group of soloists in an outstanding live set from 1978 consisting of reworkings in the unique Evans style. Every conceivable style is thrown in for good measure, the highlight of course being the superb rendition of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing clocking a staggering 25 minutes. Absolutely essential listening.

1. Dr. Jeckyl (Jackle) 16:12
2. The Meaning of the Blues 9:04
3. Little Wing 25:09
4. For Bob's Tuba 9:58

The Gil Evans Orchestra consisting of:
Lew Soloff: trumpet, piccolo trumpet
Terumasa Hino: trumpet
Gerry Niewood: alto saxophone
George Adams: tenor saxophone, flute, percussion
Bob Stewart: tuba
Gil Evans: electric piano
Pete Levin: synthesizer
Don Pate: electric bass
Rob Crowder: drums

Recorded live in Germany, October 19, 1978

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Richard Davis - Now's the Time (1972)

Let's move into more adventurous musical territory: Chicago-born Davis (1930 - ) spent 23 years in New York City establishing himself as one of the world's premier bass players. Downbeat International Critics Poll named him Best Bassist from 1967-74. He has recorded a dozen albums as a leader and 2000 recordings/jingles as a sideman. Some of his performance/recording credits include Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Dexter Gordon, Ahmad Jamal and a host of other notables. Davis is equally at home in the world of classical music, having played under the batons of George Szell, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein. His great versatility as a bassist keeps him in constant demand for worldwide concert appearances.

Now's the Time originally consisted of two side-long avant-garde jams on bebop standards in its LP form("Now's the Time" and "Epistrophy" which both clock in at over 22 minutes apiece), this live session was expanded upon its CD reissue with the inclusion of a version of Clifford Jordan's "Highest Mountain." Although tenor saxophonist Jordan, pianist Joe Bonner, drummer Freddie Waits and bassist Richard Davis were on the date, trumpeter Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson is the most dominant force, both as a player and in his conception of opening up the music. These very unpredictable renditions reward repeated listenings.