of Acid Jazz
Philly organist Shirley Scott and Pittsburgh tenor great Stanley Turrentine recorded one dozen times together between 1961-1969 for the Prestige, Blue Note, Impulse and Atlantic labels. They were married to each other about the same time too. Legends of Acid Jazz: Shirley Scott combines two of 1961 sessions: their very first together, Hip Shout, and their third, Hip Twist (Turrentines Dearly Beloved, on which the organist was billed "Little Miss Cott," was their second meeting). Both these sessions are typical early-sixties Prestige soul-jazz outings. But its a long stretch calling any of these 14 tunes "acid jazz." The stronger and most interesting of the two sets is certainly the first. Both Scott and Turrentine wail beautifully on the blues of Turrentines "Hip Soul" and "Stanleys Time." Medium-tempo swingers like Benny Golsons "411 West" and Coltranes "Tranes Blues" smolder nicely and the gets-really-interesting-as-it-goes "Out of This World" (especially during Scotts dynamic solo) is a surprising treat. Perhaps matrimonial bliss added something to Turrentines playing, but the tenor great always sounded much better and more inspired in Ms. Scotts company than he does on all those more famous Jimmy Smith sessions. He returns on his own light-bluesy "Hip Twist" and Ms. Scotts "Rippin and Runnin." But, like the remaining blues tunes, theres a little less fire than before and Ms. Scott lays on more ballads here ("At Last," "The Very Thought Of You," and "Thats All") which employ her devoted passion, but are more lounge-y and less interesting than her blues or faster tempos. So consider the last seven tracks a bonus to the first six songs and youve got a winning soul-blues jazz set in Legends of Acid Jazz: Shirley Scott.
Tracks: Hip Soul; 411 West; By Myself; Tranes Blues; Stanleys Time; Out of Thos Worlds; Hip Twist; At Last; Rippin an Runnin; The Very Thought of You; Violent Blues; Thats All; All Tore Down.
Players: Shirley Scott: organ; Stanley Turrentine: tenor sax; Herb Lewis, George Tucker: bass; Roy Brooks, Otis Finch, Jr.: drums.
of Acid Jazz
Tenor man Red Holloway was making headlines and packing clubs in the early sixties fronting Jack McDuffs powerhouse band (with guitarist George Benson) when the organists label, Prestige, gave him a shot at making his own music. Although hed been an active jazz player for two decades (and remains one today), Holloway only recorded his debut, The Burner in 1963, with young commers John Patton on organ and Eric Gale on guitar. That and 1965s Red Soul, the third of Holloways three Prestige records, are ideally paired on this excellent CD. Holloway builds spicy blues and muscular soul foundations then grinds out hard lines overtop. He seems to come out of Gene Ammons bag. But he doesnt stray toward the sentimentality that Ammons was often fond of exploring. He stays hard and keeps it up. Likewise, Paul Serrano (in the Blue Mitchell role) is a good foil, Eric Gale adds a fuzzy edge to his Benson-isms and Patton, comping a la McDuff, solos with his own Patton-ted blues forcefulness. The nine Red Soul tracks dig deeper toward that club-groove Holloway perfected with the McDuff group. Thats due mostly to the addition of guitarist George Benson -- whos nothing less than wondrous in this bag. His solos are crisp, clean, uniquely twisted, sincerely delivered and, best of all, groove like nobodys business. All that talent and hes singing forgettable pop ditties now! Benson also is credited with five of the best groove numbers here. Lonnie Smith, who was part of Bensons combo at this point, is heard on organ in four of numbers. Most noticeable, though, is the development in Holloways sound evident on these tracks. Hes just as bad on the groove, but he heads away from Ammons and toward his own more interesting vocabulary. All told, there are some great players here making great sounds playing serious party music. Its greasy. But, man, it satisfies. This ones a scorcher and its worth hearing.
Tracks: Monkey Sho Can Talk; Brethren; Crib Theme; The Burner; Miss Judie Mae; Moonlight in Vermont; Making Tracks; Movin On; Good & Groovy; Get it Together; Big Fat Lady; Tear in My Heart; Eagle Jaws; Im All Packed; The Regulars.
Players: Red Holloway: tenor sax; Paul Serrano, Hobart Dotson: trumpet; John Patton, George Butchka, Lonnie Smith: organ; Eric Gale, Charles Lindsay, George Benson: guitar; Leonard Gaskin, Thomas Palmer, Chuck Rainey: bass; Herbie Lovelle, Bobby Durham, Ray Lucas: drums.
of Acid Jazz
Legends of Acid Jazz: Billy Butler documents two interesting records made by the unfortunately neglected studio guitarist Billy Bulter (1924-91). The man who gave the groove to Bill Doggetts perennial juke-box classic "Honky Tonk" released four solo albums on Prestige between 1968 and 1970. This CD combines the first (This is Billy Butler) and the last (Night Life) of these. Butlers mellifluous sound easily bends itself to the groove hes working: bop, blues, soul-jazz, R&B, pop or boogaloo. At this point in his career, while other guitarists were following Jimi Hendrixs lead and experimenting with feedback, Butler was perfecting a Hawaiian "slack-key" sound. The result is attention to Butlers gifts as an economical player; mixing single-line strategies with chordal passages in always-clever turns of phrase. Here, Butler is best when he boogaloos as he does so well on the dance-floor classic "The Twang Thing" and the sinewy slide of "The Soul Roll." Tenor man Houston Person is right on cue and erstwhile Ernie Hayes funks wisely on his synth-like organ solos. Other strengths, as was true throughout Butlers career, are the soul-jazz grooves of "Work Song," "Bass-ic Blues" and "Peacock Alley." The remainder of the disc, and the bulk of the entire second set, is unfortunately given over to ballads. Here, Butler cant escape sounding like part of a slick, more-talented-than-this wedding band. But when the tempos fire up, so does Butler. And hes certainly worth knowing more about. But the dancers are gonna wanna get a hold of "The Twang Thang" and "The Soul Roll," the two acid-jazz staples and, really, the only acid-jazz here.
Tracks: The Twang Thing; Cherry; Work Song; The Soul Roll; She Is My Inspiration; Bass-ic Blues; Nightlife; Wave; Watch What Happens; Peacock Alley; Prelude to a Kiss; In A Mellow Tone.
Players: Billy Butler: guitar (bass on "Bass-ic Blues"); Houston Person, Jesse Powell: tenor sax; Ernie Hayes: piano, organ; Johnny "Hammond" Smith" organ; Bob Bushnell: electric bass; Rudy Collins, Jimmy Johnson: drums.
Dreams And Explorations
Pianist Don Friedman first collaborated with Hungarian guitarist Attila Zoller as part of Herbie Manns 1964-66 rhythm section. But the pair first explored the depths of their musical relationship in this excellent and aptly titled quartet session. Recorded in 1964, the same year Zoller won Down Beats Talent Deserving Wider Recognition award, Dreams and Explorations is a challenging, evocative program of creative, improvised music that is never as predictable as traditional bop nor as ponderous, pretentious or piercing as free jazz. There is an "open" quality to the music that allows for both interaction and exploration, yet the listener is never baffled by any journey any one musician takes. The three jazz standards ("Israel," "Darn That Dream" and "You Stepped Out of A Dream") are instructive of the quartets investigative methodology (reminiscent of the boundaries Paul Bley was breaking free of during the same period). But the real beauty lies in the less structured journeys the two leaders conceive. There is Friedmans unwritten "Episodes" and the twelve tone rows of "Park Row. Then theres Zollers freer "Exploration" and the intriguing freedom-in-a-foundation of "Blizzard." The thesis is movement, or the ability to inspire motion. It is about the musicians ability to explore at will and the listeners intuition to be moved (physically or emotionally) by the sounds. A daunting concept. But it actually works. Zoller achieves a beautiful sound that is filled with fluid, always assured conceptions and Friedman glides so effortlessly over wide-reaching ideas, that you are dazzled by the sparkle of his imagination only after the fact. Friedman and Zoller, having sensed such a powerful musical chemistry, recorded in more duo situations (until Zollers death earlier this year). But this is the one to hear. Its perhaps one of the greatest, unsung achievements in jazz during the sixties. Essential jazz listening.
Tracks: Episodes; Exploration; Park Row; Blizzard; Israel; Darn That Dream; You Stepped Out of a Dream.
Players: Don Friedman: piano; Attila Zoller: guitar; Dick Kniss: bass; Dick Berk: drums.
Legends of Acid Jazz: Hammond Heroes
Legends of Acid JazzHammond Heroes offers few advantages more than a gathering of solid soul-jazz tunes. It is, however, a decent (if not essential) collection of "Hammond heroes." But nearly every track here actually pre-dates what has come to be considered "acid jazz." If Prestige were to tap the Hammond heroes of its acid jazz period, youd see names like Leon Spencer, Charles Kynard, Bill Mason or Sonny Phillips and later offerings by Groove Holmes or Johnny "Hammond" Smith. Nomenclature aside, this 72-minute disc does offer swinging soul jazz by some of the genres more memorable B-3 wizards: Jack McDuff (in three appearances here), Shirley Scott, Larry Young and Don Patterson. Two welcome inclusions are the otherwise unavailable "One Track Mind," a 1966 track by Freddie Roach, and "Take Five," a 1967 recording by Trudy Pitts (with Pat Martino). Better suited to a sock hop than a rave, Legends of Acid JazzHammond Heroes will appeal more to curious listeners than real B-3 fans.
Tracks: Willis Jackson: Please Mr. Jackson (1959); Shirley Scott: Takin Care of Business (1958); Arnett Cobb featuring Austin Mitchell: Smooth Sailing (1959); Johnny "Hammond" Smith: Sticks and Stones (1961); Jimmy Forrest featuring Larry Young: Remember (1960); Gene Ammons featuring Jack McDuff: Twistin the Jug (1961); Red Holloway featuring John Patton: Crib Theme (1963); Jack McDuff: Rock Candy (1963); Willis Jackson featuring Carl Wilson: Pool Shark (1963); Don Patterson: Donald Duck (1964); Richard "Groove" Holmes: Misty (1965); Freddie Roach: One Track Mind (1966); Trudy Pitts: Take Five (1967).
I Remember Bill: A Tribute To Bill Evans
Veteran arranger Don Sebesky crafts an often-glowing portrait of famed jazz pianist Bill Evans in this quite welcome orchestral jazz tribute. While he is too often derided (unfairly) as the guy who mucked up Wes Montgomery and other CTI stars with strings and horn sections, Sebesky often presents subtle arrangements that offer a keen respect for a soloists musicianship. When a listener notices Sebeskys work, its often in the occasional punctuation mark or interesting sound combinations he creates. But its his respect for the featured musician that sets him apart and probably drew him to this project.
Here, Sebesky has gathered a prominent collection of top-shelf jazz musicians, many of whom actually worked with Evans during his career. But one instrumentalist he did not recruit was a pianist. A wise move. This permits appropriate direction from the bassist and drummer and allows reliance on a rhythm player who is not burdened by aping or avoiding Bill Evans style. Such daunting responsibility falls to the guitarist; in most cases, Larry Coryell, who is outstanding in his eight appearances here and, perhaps, emerges as the discs real star.
The material is carefully drawn from Evans originals and standards associated with the pianist. But, in a quest for variety, the result is something of a mixed bag. Standouts include sterling takes of "All the Things You Are" (with Lee Konitz), Sebeskys oddly-titled "Bill, Not Gil" and "T.T.T.T." (both featuring Bob Brookmeyer and Eddie Daniels) and, of course, "Waltz for Debby" (with Joe Lovano and Tom Harrell). But Sebesky achieves greatness with his transformation of Evans lovely "Peace Piece" into an elegant adagio. Effectively coordinating strings, harp, percussion and Hubert Laws flute, he has surely crafted one for the ages here. His boisterous take on "So What" (with solid contributions from Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell and Larry Coryell) is also worthwhile, but seems reminiscent of his showy work with Wes Montgemery. The three vocal tunes (separately featuring Chet Baker-like John Pizzarelli, Jeannie Bryson and the intolerable New York Voices), though, all are quite unnecessary and seem to break any mood Sebesky may have been aiming for. Still, its refreshing to hear high-quality orchestral jazz being made in the late nineties and one hopes Don Sebesky will be in the forefront of keeping it alive.
Tracks: Waltz for Debby; I Remember Bill; So What; Quiet Now; All The Things You Are; Peace Piece; Bill, Not Gil; Very Early; T.T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune Two); Autumn Leaves; Blue in Gree; Im Getting Sentimental Over You; Epilogue; Bill Evans Interview.
Players: Tom Harrell: flugelhorn; Bob Brookmeyer: valve trombone; Joe Lovano: tenor sax; Lee Konitz: alto sax; Eddie Daniels: clarinet; Hubert Laws: flute; Larry Coryell, Ken Sebesky: guitar; John Pizzarelli: guitar, vocals. Marc Johnson, Eddie Gomez: bass; Joe LaBarbera, Marty Morell, Dennis Mackrel: drums; Toots Thielmans: harmonica; Sue Evans, Joe Passaro: percussion; Dave Samuels: vibraphone; New York Voices (Darmon Meader, Lauren Kinhan, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian), Jeanie Bryson: vocals; with brass, woodwinds and strings.
We'll Be Together Again
A real beauty, Well Be Together Again pairs the outstanding jazz guitarist Pat Martino with electric pianist Gil Goldstein for a song cycle that explores ballads and more meditative/contemplative material. Its a perfect union that surprisingly never waivers in its 45 minutes from maintaining its listeners attention or interest. Goldstein, especially, is the ideal tonal colorist. Although he solos occasionally, the keyboardist more often creates perfect aural envelopes for Martinos deft and lovely explorations on guitar. There is also an appealing stylistic consistency here that was absent from the pairs 1976 follow-up, Starbright (Warner Bros.). And the choice to stick with an electric piano throughout is inspired. Martino has always sounded great paired with the much maligned keyboard (check out 1970s Desperado on Prestige or 1972s Live! or, best of all, 1974s Consciousness).
For the most part, the program sticks to familiar jazz terrain. But even Martino breathes genuine originality into war horses like "Dreamsville" and, most notably, the cheesy "Send in the Clowns." Martinos dynamic opening suite "Open Roads," and the standard "Willow Weep For Me" are the discs best tracks and while they threaten to set Martinos fingers flying, the pair explore this musical terrain with great care and sensitive passion.
Jazz fans who always hope to have their favorite artists favorite LP released on CD will be reassured by the release of Well Be Together Again too. When 32 Jazz Records asked Martino which of his Muse albums he would choose to release on CD, the guitarist named this one because of all the e-mail requests he gets for it. Kudos (again) to 32 Jazz for caring about the music and putting out worthwhile jazz at great prices. What a refreshing change to have jazz music fans running a jazz record company!
Tracks: Open Road (Olee/Variations and Song/Open Road); Lament; Well Be Together Again; You Dont Know What Love Is; Dreamsville; Send In The Clowns; Willow Weep For Me.
Players: Pat Martino: electric guitar; Gil Goldstein: electric piano.
A true joy, Gillespiana revisits the classic five-part jazz suite Lalo Schifrin created for trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie in 1960. It is a brilliant, consistently inventive work that has lost none of its appeal or sheen over nearly four decades worth of time. Surprisingly, Gillespiana has not been recorded since its initial debut in 1960 until now -- although Gillespie often performed the work throughout his career and Schifrin presented a 35th anniversary version at New York Citys Lincoln Center in 1995.
The work was originally intended to spotlight the soloists in Dizzy Gillespies working quintet (with Schifrin on piano, Leo Wright on alto and flute, Art Davis on bass and Chuck Lampkin on drums) against the sterling backdrop of a richly textured brass section. Here, Schifrin is caught live at a 1996 concert with the quite capable WDR Big Band and in the worthy company of Jon Faddis on trumpet, Paquito DRivera on alto and Heiner Wiberny on flute. Schifrin himself is again at the piano. All are more than up to the task (in fact, Faddis probably knows the original better than Schifrin) and all produce work that stands head-and-shoulders in quality with the standard.
Opening with the Ellingtonian "Prelude," the same solo order is maintained with Faddis reaching his own dizzying heights, DRivera ascending on alto and Schifrin who, after years of exploring a world of musical histories, shows himself to be a far more interesting soloist than he was in 1960. Gillespianas most famed section, "Blues," misses Art Daviss outstanding bass introduction, although bassist John Goldsby is given a brief turn of exploration. Here, Faddis is again featured, followed by Wibernys flute and Schifrins Monk-like solo, which as good as it is, does not offer the wild fanfare of his 1960 solo. The Cubana be-Cubana bop exotica of "Panamericana" suggests Faddis, as dizzily enchanted as he may be, is really quite a stupendous soloist with his own ideas. DRivera, who has recorded Schifrins "Jazz Meets The Symphony" series and performs Schifrins dissonant "Tropicos" concerto in New York this month (6/98), is, too, an excellent foil. Schifrins bold, assured solo here is dynamite. Returning to the exotica of "Africana," Wiberny and Faddis are again featured. But Schifrins lovely, expressive piano weaves in and out to set the mood in place of Leo Wrights snake-charming flute and results in a newly sumptuous, evocative performance. As percussive motifs mount, "Toccata" subsumes the genesis of all that makes up the suite (and, appropriately, all that inspired Schifrin about Gillespie) and ends in a dramatic flurry and ecstatic activity. Here, DRivera, who is reminiscent of Arthur Blythe, takes the honors. The (still) unknown trombone soloist gallantly swaggers through New Orleans. And Faddis solos marvelously with an interesting rebellion (and "Summertime" quotes) before Schifrin closes it all out on a high note.
The disc is rounded out with Villa Loboss enchanting "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5," for which Schifrin preserves the same gentle, swaying samba arrangement he created for his 1964 LP, New Fantasy. Again utilizing the all-brass backdrop, Schifrin allows the guitar to set the mood. But instead of featuring his piano as he did on the original, he lets Markus Stockhausens trumpet state the theme (interesting to note that nothing from Jimmy Smith and Lalo Schifrins 1964 disc The Cat, which also highlights the brass-and-soloist concept, is featured here).
Lalo Schifrins diversity doesnt often bring him into jazz. This year alone, hes recorded in mostly classical contexts, composed scores for the upcoming films Tango and Something To Believe In and will coordinate a Three Tenors gala in July. Gillespiana, the second release on Schifrins own Aleph label, is cause to celebrate. Its jazz the old-fashioned way: brilliantly conceived, beautifully and creatively executed and always a joy to hear and hear again. Available via mail at www.schifrin.com.
Tracks: Gillespiana Suite: Prelude, Blues, Panamericana, Africana, Toccata; Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.
Players: Jon Faddis, Markus Stockhausen: trumpet solos; Paquito D'Rivera: alto sax solos; Heiner Wiberny: alto sax, flute solos; Lalo Schifrin: piano, conductor, arranger; John Riley: drums; Alex Acuna, Marcio Doctor: Latin percussion; with the WDR Big Band: Andy Haderer, Rob Bruynen, Klaus Osterloh, John Marshall (trumpet); Dave Horler, Ludwig Nuss, Bernt Laukamp (trombone); Dietmar Florin (bass trombone); Olivier Peters, Rolf Romer (tenor sax); Harald Rosenstein (alto sax); Jens Neufang (baritone sax); Milan Lulic (guitar); John Goldsby (bass) and guests Andrew Joy, Charles Putnam, Kathleen Putnam, Mark Putnam (French horn); Ed Partyka (tuba).