Thursday, April 25, 2013

Talkin' Verve: Roots Of Acid Jazz

If you like 1960's club style jazz, then this is the set for you. A superb collection of tunes that ranges from the smooth to hard bop. Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island" has never sounded better than the 1964 recording included here featuring Donald Byrd. Milt Jackson on vibes and Hubert Laws on flute lead a sensational combination on "Bags and Strings." And Jimmy Smith appears here a number of times doing incredible things on the Hammond B3 organ on "The Cat," "James and Wes," and "Got My Mojo Workin'."

Also Latin jazz inspired tunes of Cal Tjader on vibes, and "Manteca" featuring Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and vocals is an outstanding performance recorded on March 4, 1961 at Carnegie Hall. A pair of tunes with Willie Bobo featured on Timbales ("Boogaloo in Room 802" and La Descarga del Bobo") are also wonderful to hear. Classic recordings of some of jazz's finest performers.

Disc: 1...1. Bumpin' - Wes Montgomery 2. Cantaloup Island - Donald Bryd 3. Chang, Chang, Chang - Yusef Lateef 4. Coll (From West Side Story) - Oliver Nelson 5. Bags & Strings - Milt Jackson 6. The Cat - Jimmy Smith 7. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? - Little Richie Varola 8. Fall Out - Roland Kirk 9. Nina's Dance - Tony Scott 10. Blues Greasy - Sonny Stitt 11. James & Wes - Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery 12. Moanin' - Cal Tjader 13. Boogaloo in Room 802 - Willie Bobo

Disc: 2...1. Manteca - Dizzy Gillespie 2. Mambocito Mio - Illinois Jacquet 3. Love - Stan Getz 4. Song Of The Yellow River - Cal Tjader 5. La Descarga Del Bobo - Wilie Bobo 6. Latin Slide - La Clave 7. Manha De Carnaval - Cal Tjader 8. Crikets Sing For Anamaria - Marcos Valle 9. The Cantaloupe Woman - Grant Green10. Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro) - Cal Tjader  11. Yo Yo Yo - Slim Gaillard 12. Samba Triste - Jackie & Roy 13. Got My Mojo Workin' - Jimmy Smith 14. Devilette (Previously Unissued) - Donald Byrd

Friday, April 19, 2013

Miles Davis -- Kind of Blue

This is the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz, and with good reason. The band itself is extraordinary (proof of Miles Davis's masterful casting skills, if not of God's existence), listing John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on saxophones, Bill Evans (or, on "Freddie Freeloader," Wynton Kelly) on piano, and the crack rhythm unit of Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Coltrane's astringency on tenor is counterpoised to Adderley's funky self on alto, with Davis moderating between them as Bill Evans conjures up a still lake of sound on which they walk. Meanwhile, the rhythm partnership of Cobb and Chambers is prepared to click off time until eternity. It was the key recording of what became modal jazz, a music free of the fixed harmonies and forms of pop songs. In Davis's men's hands it was a weightless music, but one that refused to fade into the background. In retrospect every note seems perfect, and each piece moves inexorably towards its destiny. --John Szwed (Amazon review)

1. So What 9:22
2. Freddie Freeloader 9:46
3. Blue In Green 5:37
4. All Blues 11:32
5. Flamenco Sketches 9:26
6. Flamenco Sketches (alternate take) 9:31

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paul Desmond...Cool Imagination

Paul Desmond likened his icy-sweet sound to a "dry Martini". His style defined cool - an "above-it-all" sound that echoed the good life. On this collection Paul Desmond and his "cool school" friends, including Jim Hall, Gerry Mulligan and Milt Hilton, breeze through the most beautiful ballads, with a prettiness and grace that makes the music a joy to hear.