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 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.
Mingus Dynasty, like its predecessor and Columbia companion Mingus Ah Um, was recorded in 1959, a watershed year for the insuperable, eruptive bassist-composer Charles Mingus. Leading what amounted to a repertory company comprising some of New York's best and most creative improvisers, Mingus musically challenged two ensembles (a tentet and a nonet that includes two cellos) as they never had been challenged before.
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)
This set came about, in part, as a result of Ellington's signing to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label in November 1962, with the ending of his exclusive contract to Columbia. Six numbers from the three Paris dates were initially edited and released by Reprise as part of the ten-song Duke Ellington's Greatest Hits, but the bulk of the performances from those shows didn't surface until many years later as The Great Paris Concert on two LPs.
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.
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.
"The best of pianist Horace Tapscott's recordings for the tiny Nimbus label is this 1981 LP which features him in a sextet with trumpeter Reggie Bullen, altoist Gary Bias, tenor saxophonist Sabir Matteen, bassist Roberto Miranda and drummer Everett Brown, Jr. The group stretches out on a couple of Tapscott's originals plus a 19½-minute version of Linda Hill's"Dem Folks." Although the music could be called avant-garde, its use of rhythms and repetition keep the results from being forbidding and the performances have a momentum of their own."
Mono RecordingRecorded after one of McGhee’s not infrequent releases from the Penitentary on narcotics charges, hence the title “The Return Of ….” Howard McGhee is a wonderful agile soloist, a model for the younger Kenny Dorham. Sharing the spotlight with McGhee is Sahib Shihab on baritone sax, what more can you ask?
Stereo RecordingA beautifully recorded session of top quality blues performed by masters of their art. On paper it may look like a slightly odd coupling of KC shouter with a Chicago blues band. The results confirm that Jimmy Witherspoon is a blues singer full of passion and throughout this session all the musicians compliment each other admirably. A beautiful slab of music.
Keb’ Mo’s self-titled debut is an edgy, ambitious collection of gritty country blues. Keb’ Mo’ pushes into new directions, trying to incorporate some of the sensibilites of the slacker revolution without losing touch of the tradition that makes the blues the breathing, vital art form it is. His attempts aren’t always successful, but his gutsy guitar playing and impassioned vocals, as well as his surprisingly accomplished songwriting, make Keb’ Mo’ a debut to cherish.
MONO RECORDINGThe premier jazz vocal act of all time, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross revolutionized vocal music during the late '50s and early '60s by turning away from the increasingly crossover slant of the pop world to embrace the sheer musicianship inherent in vocal jazz.
Leo Wright's Atlantic debut, "Blues Shout", effectively summarizes his career as a sideman, embracing the expressionist sensibilities of longtime boss Dizzy Gillespie as well as the Latin inspirations of longtime bandmate Lalo Schifrin to create a fiercely modern and uncommonly impassioned sound all its own.
The 1967 Newport Jazz Festival, fourteenth in a world-famous series, was inexplicably the first at which Lionel Hampton had ever appeared. Better late than never, the great vibist and bandleader came, played and conquered. As the crowd roars ecstatically at the end of this record, the awed but happy voice of producer George Wein is heard: "This hasn’t happened since Duke …" he begins, casting back in his mind to 1956 and the nearest comparable triumph.
Blues guitar simply would not have developed in the manner that it did if not for the prolific brilliance of Lonnie Johnson.He was there to help define the instrument's future within the genre and the genre's future itself at the very beginning, his melodic conception so far advanced from most of his pre-war peers as to inhabit a plane all his own. For more than 40 years, Johnson played blues, jazz, and ballads his way; he was a true blues originator whose influence hung heavy on a host of subsequent blues immortals.
Electric blues guitarist Melvin Taylorhad been sporadically recording solo albums for 20 years when Dirty Pool arrived — and was somehow just beginning to find fame. Already a hit in Europe, it had taken a steady run of performing in Chicago’s famed blues clubs to slowly earn Taylor a well-deserved reputation as an equal talent among the giants before him, such as Otis Rush, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Although singer Nancy Harrow made a strong impression with this debut recording, she did not lead another record date until 1978 other than a lesser-known effort for Atlantic in 1966. Obviously the years of obscurity were not deserved, for this set is a near-classic. Harrow is heard in her early prime singing such veteran songs as "All Too Soon," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," the seven-minute "Blues for Yesterday," and the title cut (originally done by Ida Cox in the 1920s).
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, LondonThis jazz recording is considered as the 'magnum opus' of master "drummer extraordinaire'', composer, arranger, producer, and leader Norman Connor's in a career that has spanned 4 decades. This recording is what many will consider the debut of the legendary vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater who has since gone on to a brilliant career.
A charming little beauty, Starry Starry Night is a collection of cover versions of mainly familiar material by drummer Paul Clarvis and pianist Liam Noble, two characterful lights of the British jazz scene. The tunes range from classic standards like Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," the Gershwins' "Embraceable You" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," through to more recent treasures like Gillian Welch's "Dear Someone," Don Maclean's "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" and Moondog's "Paris."
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London When Paul Robeson took the stage at Carnegie Hall in May of 1958, it had been 11 years since he had previously concertized freely in the United States. Blacklisted from the entertainment industry at home, and with the State Department unwilling to issue him a passport, he had fallen into eclipse as a singer and actor over the previous eight years. The concert recorded here, one of two at Carnegie Hall in May of 1958, marked his return.
"A two-LP set on Theresa, Rejoice features Pharoah Sanders in excellent form in 1981. Sanders sounds much more mellow than he had a decade earlier, often improvising in a style similar to late-'50s John Coltrane, particularly on "When Lights Are Low," "Moments Notice," and "Central Park West." The personnel changes on many of the selections and includes such top players as pianists Joe Bonner and John Hicks, bassist Art Davis, drummers Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, trombonist Steve Turre, trumpeter Danny Moore, a harpist, and (on "Origin" and "Central Park West") five vocalists. The music always holds one's interest, making this one of Sanders' better later recordings." Scott Yanow/AMG
From its opening bars, with Bill Salter's bass and Rahsaan's flute passionately playing Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine", you know this isn't an ordinary Kirk album (were any of them?). As the string section, electric piano, percussion, and Cornel Dupree's guitar slip in the back door, one can feel the deep soul groove Kirk is bringing to the jazz fore here.
Why didn`t this girl get the recognition she deserves?There are some absolutely wonderful songs on this album and even better vocal performances that few have come close to. The collection is slightly jazz tinged but don’t let that put you off.
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, LondonThis is one of the few handful of recordings to feature the Rev. Gary Davis in concert. As the name of the project suggests, the proceedings were documented at the Newport Folk Festival in July of 1965. The Reverend's solo vocal is accompanied by his own six- and twelve-string guitar(s) as well as mouth harp.
REAL blues... He took the pain in his soul and the dirt on his hands and made songs out of them.... Robert Pete Williams ...the most avant-garde blues performer ever recorded. No punk rock band has ever matched the jagged, acerbic fury of the riffs Williams played 35 years ago. No rapper has approached his ability to evoke the torment of life in prison or bend language to cast an eerie spell over a chance encounter with a seductive woman.... His blues was extremely original, sometimes even hard to understand. No other performer has captured the emotional effect of a desperate situation like he did. He had never been recorded when he was discovered in Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana, convicted of murder.
MONO RECORDINGArguably one of the most exciting saxophone soloists in Jazz History,Kirk was a post-modernist bsfore that term even excisted. Kirk played the continum of Jazz tradition as instrument unto itself, he felt little compuction about mising ans matching elements from the music's history, and his concoctions usually seemed natural, if not inevitable.
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, LondonOnce fired from Lucky Millinder's band, it was the great Duke Ellington who recommended Ruth Brown to Herb Abramson and his fledgling Atlantic Records in 1949. Good thing, too, because it was Ruth Brown who put Atlantic on the map, make no mistake. She did that with 24 R&B hit singles from 1949 to 1960, five of which crossed over to the Billboard Pop charts.
Shorty Rogers' "Jazz Waltz" is exactly that, an exploration of ten compositions played in waltz settings. Only these big-band charts are hardly the waltzes heard on Lawrence Welk's long-running television series. Rogers kicks off with a swinging number ("I'm Gonna Go Fishin'") written by Duke Ellington for the soundtrack to the film "Anatomy Of A Murder" and featuring the leader's rich flügelhorn. The lyrical take of the centuries-old folk melody "Greensleeves" alternates between the tense rhythm section and Bud Shank's gorgeous flute solo.
Sidney Bechet's historic recordings for Blue Note and RCA Victor tend to overshadow some of his other work because they have been reissued more frequently, though there are lesser-known dates worth acquiring as well. This Columbia LP compiles three separate recording sessions made between 1938 and 1947. Bechet sticks almost exclusively to soprano sax throughout each of them and has ample space for his solos, full of his trademark heavy vibrato. The earliest set matches him with drummer Zutty Singleton, bassist Henry Turner, and guitarist Leonard Ware (all members of his working band at the time), along with pianist Dave Bowman and baritone saxophonist Ernie Caceres.
As the New Orleans R&B sound developed rapidly during the early '50s, so did Lewis. He scored his first national hit in 1952 with "The Bells Are Ringing," but enjoyed his biggest sales in 1955 with the exultant "I Hear You Knocking" (its immortal piano solo courtesy of Huey Smith.