STEREO RECORDINGAfter the shaky start of Green Is Blues, Al Green and producer Willie Mitchell established their classic sound with Green's second album, Gets Next to You. The main difference is in the rhythm section. Abandoning the gritty syncopations of deep Southern soul, the Hi Rhythm Section plays it slow and seductive, working a sultry, steady pulse that Green exploits with his remarkable voice. Alternating between Sam Cooke's croon and Otis Redding's shout, Green develops his own distinctive style, and Gets Next to You only touches the surface of its depth. Although the album is filled with wonderful moments, few are as astonishing as Green and Mitchell's reinterpretation of the Temptations' "I Can't Get Next to You," which turns the original inside out. Stephen Thomas Erlewine /AMG
Stereo RecordingLa Casa de Trova. The house of the troubadours. It’s a place of almost mythical status in Cuban music, the home of so many of the glorious songs that have come out of the island. Even Paul McCartney has made his pilgrimage there. For Alejandro Almenares, it’s a place he visits every single day, still carrying his guitar as he goes to play and talk with friends. And it’s the inspiration behind his album Casa De Trova. For Almenares, the connection to the house is deep. His musician father, Angel Sanchez Almenares, was one of the founders of the Casa.
Stereo RecordingArguably the most adventurous female jazz singer of all time, Betty Carter was an idiosyncratic stylist and a restless improviser who pushed the limits of melody and harmony as much as any bebop horn player. The husky-voiced Carter was capable of radical, off-the-cuff re-workings of whatever she sang, abruptly changing tempos and dynamics, or rearranging the lyrics into distinctive, off-the-beat rhythmic patterns.
Stereo RecordingHer mountainous stature matching the sheer soulful power of her massive vocal talent, Big Maybelle was one of the premier R&B chanteuses of the ‘50s. Her deep, gravelly voice was as singular as her recorded output for Okeh and Savoy, which ranged from down-in-the-alley blues to pop-slanted ballads. She appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, and acquired a large following among lovers of the blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and rock and roll.
Stereo RecordingBack in the 1930s Kansas City was a major jazz scene as it was home to Bennie Moten’s Band followed by the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra. Bob Brookmeyer, the virtuouso valve trombonist, who just passed away in the last several months, gathered in 1958 a largely Basie-oriented septet to do honor to the KC scene by recording several standards of the day including “Jumping at the Woodside,” “Blue and Sentimental,” “Moten Swing,” and Travlin’ Light.”
When this two-LP set was initially released in January 1971, Canned Heat was back to its R&B roots. Sporting a slightly revised personnel with the return of Henry “Sunflower” Vestine and the incorporation of Antonio “Tony” de la Barreda on bass, a highly skilled constituent of Aldolfo de la Parra on drums. Sadly, it would also be the final effort to include co-founder Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, who passed away in September 1970. Hooker ’n Heat (1971) is a low-key affair split between unaccompanied solo John Lee Hooker tunes, collaborations between Hooker and Wilson, as well as five full-blown confabs between Hooker and Heat.
Mono Recording“Actual playing experience on the job is the best way to learn to think. Improvising is playing with a lot of thought behind it; but none of the hard work that goes into thinking should show up in your playing. Too often improvising is really copying. To really improvise , a musician needs to know everything – not only his instrument, but harmony, composition, theory, the whole works. It’s more important than ever today. (“Today” being 1960)
Friends is the accurate and revealing title for New York Bluesman Eric Bibb's tenth album since 1997. The cuts here feature rootsy folk and blues collaborations with different 'friends' in differering small group settings. The set starts with a killer accoustic slide duet between Bibb and Guy Davis on the nugget '99 1/2 Won't Do'. The control between Davis' sweet and smoky delivery and Bibb's husky wail - akin to Blind Willie Johnson's in places - offers a double-sided dimension in interpretation for the listener, as well.
Stereo Recording Natural light by Eric Bibb is as strong as his previous efforts and produced once again by his longtime bassist Dave Bronze. Eric's voice and guitar playing shines all over whether he's doing a solo acoustic number as in Champagne Habits and the beautiful Lucky Man' Rag where he is joined by a wasboard player, or in the full band numbers such as the cover of the sixties Jackie Wilson hit Higher and Higher.
STEREO RECORDINGRecorded between trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's better-known classics Red Clay and First Light, Straight Life is actually arguably Hubbard's greatest recording.
Mono RecordingHarry “Sweets” Edison, a smooth and suave trumpeter, was a cohort of orchestra leader Count Basie, a favourite of bandleader Nelson Riddle, and a noted backup artist for the most prominent vocalists of his time. Edison, with his energetic yet reticent blowing style, bridged a genre gap between the early classic jazz sound of Louis Armstrong and modern bebop modes.
Not strictly a jazz album in the strict sense, Slaves Mass has strong compositional themes among its seven tracks. The maestro Hermeto Pascoal plays everything from flutes, soprano saxophone, guitar, Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano and clavinet on this set, and enlists help from Ron Carter, Airto, Flora Purim, Raul DeSouza, David Maro and others. "Mixing Pot," is the opener and an anomaly in that it is a vanguard fusion tune where Pascoal really digs in and improvises.