Saturday, February 18, 2017

Oscar Peterson Trio - 1991 "Live at the Blue Note"

Live at the Blue Note is a 1990 live album by Oscar Peterson.

Pianist Oscar Peterson had a reunion with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown at a well-publicized get-together at New York's Blue Note in March 1990. The trio (his regular group of the late '50s) was augmented by Peterson's late-'60s drummer Bobby Durham for spirited performances. Rather than using their complex arrangements of the past, the pianist and his alumni simply jammed through the performances and the results are quite rewarding. On the first of four CDs released by Telarc, the quartet performs "Honeysuckle Rose," a ballad medley, three of the pianist's originals and "Sweet Georgia Brown." As this and the other CDs in the series show, the magic was still there. 

In March of 1990, Oscar Peterson played a two-week engagement at the Blue Note in New York with a group billed as the Oscar Peterson Trio, even though it contained four players. Peterson was on piano, Ray Brown was on bass, Herb Ellis was on guitar and Bobby Durham was on drums. The billing was no doubt intended to capitalize on the fact that Peterson, Brown and Ellis had been one of the most popular jazz trios of the 1950s. The three had rarely played together between 1958 and this 1990 New York gig.

Telarc, a successful classical label just breaking into jazz at the time, recorded the last three nights of the engagement. Over the next two years, music from each night was released on individual CDs: The Legendary Oscar Peterson Trio Live at the Blue Note, Saturday Night at the Blue Note and Last Call at the Blue Note. Telarc took one last pass in 1993, with Encore at the Blue Note, a selection of “other fine moments” from the three nights. The first two albums won Grammy trophies. In late 2004, Telarc reissued this material in a four-CD set. You will look in vain for previously unissued tracks or remastering. But you get four CDs for the price of two, a very slick slip case (all four-CD sets should be packaged this way) and new liner notes by Alyn Shipton, jazz critic for the Times of London.

On Oscar Peterson, there are two broad critical schools of thought. The first (probably more widely held) is that Peterson is a virtuoso who deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with Art Tatum. The second is that Peterson is a virtuoso, and that it is difficult to care very much about this fact. If it is the second perspective that holds sway in this review, it is hopefully not without respect for the first. Opinions about Peterson’s music are even more subjective than most judgments about art. If his works for you, then you are going to love this set, because it contains almost five hours of torrential floods of pure Peterson. You are going to love tunes like “Sushi” and “Blues Etude,” which prove that Peterson, at 65, could play as fast as any pianist who ever lived. You are going to marvel at his command of phrasing, his harmonic knowledge and his embodiment of so much jazz piano history. You are going to be dazzled by the hook-up with guitarist Herb Ellis, especially given the 32-year hiatus in their musical relationship.

But if Peterson does not move you, then you are likely to find his fast pieces rather like musical Formula One car races, complete with hairpin turns. You will find the rewards of the dazzling fours between Peterson and Ellis more athletic than aesthetic. You will have reservations about ballads like “It Never Entered My Mind” and “A Child Is Born,” believing that, for a jazz improviser, these songs should be occasions for self-revelation, but that in Peterson’s hands they are elegant, flawless and detached.

This 1990 recording reunites Oscar Peterson's nonpareil 1950s trio of Ray Brown and Herb Ellis, fleshing out the lineup with drummer Bobby Durham from the great pianist's '60s group. Though all the principals were in their sixties at the time of the recording, their performances are as tight and fleet as ever, with Ellis sounding especially inspired. The ballads "I Remember You," "A Child Is Born," and "Tenderly" demonstrate their mature, melodic empathy, while "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" are the type of barn burners for which Peterson and company were famous. 

Track listing

1.    Introductions – 1:56
2.    "Honeysuckle Rose" (Andy Razaf, Fats Waller) – 8:50
3.    "Let There Be Love" (Lionel Grant, Ian Rand) – 12:00
4.    "Peace for South Africa" (Oscar Peterson) – 10:46
5.    "Sushi" (Peterson) – 8:06
6.    "I Remember You"/"A Child Is Born"/"Tenderly" (Johnny Mercer, Victor Schertzinger)/(Thad Jones, Alec Wilder) – 7:17
7.    "Sweet Georgia Brown" (Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, Kenneth Casey) – 8:21
8.    "Blues for Big Scotia" (Peterson) - 6:08

Personnel

    Oscar Peterson – piano
    Herb Ellis – guitar
    Ray Brown – double bass
    Bobby Durham - drums

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

King Crimson - 2003 "The Power To Believe"

The Power to Believe is the thirteenth studio album by English band King Crimson, released in February 2003 by record label Sanctuary. It is a companion to the preceding mini-album Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With (2002).

Both Level Five and Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With acted as work-in-progress reveals for the album, which Fripp described as "the culmination of three years of Crimsonising". The album incorporated reworked and/or retitled versions of "Deception of the Thrush" ("The Power to Believe III") and four of the EP tracks, plus a 1997 Soundscape with added instrumentation and vocals ("The Power to Believe: Coda").

The Power to Believe (2003) marks the return of King Crimson for the group's first full-length studio release since ConstruKction of Light (2000). While it draws upon material featured on the live Level Five (2001) and studio Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With (2002) extended-play discs, there are also several new sonic sculptures included. Among them is the title track, which is divided into a series of central thematic motifs much in the same manner as the "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" movements had done in the past. This 21st century schizoid band ably bears the torch of its predecessors with the same ballsy aggression that has informed other seminal King Crimson works -- such as In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), Red (1974), and more recently THRAK (1995). This incarnation of the Mighty Krim includes the excessively talented quartet of Adrian Belew (guitar/vocals), Robert Fripp (guitar), Trey Gunn (Warr guitar/Warr fretless guitar), and Pat Mastelotto (percussion). Under the auspices of Machine -- whose notable productions include post-grunge and industrial medalists Pitchshifter and White Zombie -- the combo unleashes a torrent of alternating sonic belligerence ("Level Five") and inescapable beauty ("Eyes Wide Open"). These extremes are linked as well as juxtaposed by equally challenging soundscapes from Fripp on "The Facts of Life: Intro" as well as Belew's series of "The Power to Believe" haikus. The disc is fleshed out with some choice extended instrumentals such as "Elektrik" and "Dangerous Curves," boasting tricky time signatures that are indelibly linked to equally engaging melodies. Both "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With" and "Facts of Life" stand out as the (dare say) perfect coalescence of Belew's uncanny Beatlesque lyrical sense with the sort of bare-knuckled, in your face aural attack that has defined King Crimson for over three decades. If the bandmembers' constant tone probing is an active search to find the unwitting consciousness of a decidedly younger, rowdier, and more demanding audience, their collective mission is most assuredly accomplished on The Power to Believe -- even more so than the tripped-out psychedelic prog rock behemoth from whence they initially emerged.

For all his scholarly quips and curmudgeonly demeanor, King Crimson founder and guitarist Robert Fripp has gone to great pains to keep his feet planted firmly on the ground. Unlike some of his first-generation progressive rock peers of the late 60s and early 70s, he never allowed his band to leap into the abyss of new age fantasy or wanky tech-pomp. At all points during Crimson's many-membered lifetime, Fripp has been the model of humble workmanship: You can usually count on him to 1) hate the music business, 2) refuse to rest on his laurels, and 3) practice his guitar. It makes sense that he wouldn't expect much pleasure from record sales or a cult of fans as obsessive as they come-- after all, it's the musician's job to strive for excellence in the face of commerce and compromise.

And it shouldn't bother him that during the course of his 35-year, single-minded crusade he's left himself on a desert island with only his comfortable legion of fans and bandmates to keep him company. It's been a few years since he was painting London red with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie, and these days Fripp mostly celebrates advanced middle age with his wife, English garden and the latest version of his storied band. Sure, his records sound more than a little like shadows (albeit of the highest quality) of his classic past efforts, but it's not as if rock history is littered with grandfatherly figures re-inventing the wheel. "Hey man, lay off Fripp-- King Crimson is the best prog band ever!" I know it is, I do; I really wish I could get past the irony of a progressive rock band being unable to progress.

The Power to Believe is the band's 13th studio LP, and the third featuring the current lineup of Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto. Last year, the buzz about this record was that it was going to be the result of Crimson's ear to xFC-metal, and having toured with Tool-- in fact, the working title was Nuovo Metal. Last year's Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With EP offered some preliminary tastes of this direction, as did the deluge of recent live releases, including 2001's Level Five, and the Projekcts albums. I'm happy to report that Power is much less awful than that EP, and more consistently interesting than the sprawling live CDs. That said, there is an omnipresent residue of stagnancy that has covered just about everything King Crimson have released since 1995's Thrak, and this record is no less stained.

Robert Fripp and the ever-changing lineup of King Crimson continue to fascinate and challenge with The Power to Believe. The album’s opener is an a cappella version of the title track sweetly delivered by Adrian Belew that’s reprised three times later: once with jangling Eastern percussion and a soaring guitar; once as a sci-fi extravaganza that harkens to Crimson's glorious past; and finally as an a cappella closer. In between lies the disciplined, varied, and often mind-blowing playing one expects from these accomplished musicians. "Facts of Life" is dirty prog blues, while "Dangerous Curves" is like a low-key "Kashmir" until it rises to a metallic crescendo. Then there's the sarcastic "Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With," which finds Belew berating younger outfits for their lack of artistic ambition.

"The only reward the musician receives is music: The privilege of standing in the presence of music when it leans over and takes unto its confidence. As it is for the audience. In this moment everything else is irrelevant and without power. For those in music, this is the moment when life becomes unreal."
                                                                                --Robert Fripp, 1992

Tracks Listing

1. The Power to Believe I: A Cappella (0:44)
2. Level Five (7:17)
3. Eyes Wide Open (4:08)
4. Elektrik (7:59)
5. Facts of Life: Intro (1:38)
6. Facts of Life (5:05)
7. The Power to Believe II (7:43)
8. Dangerous Curves (6:42)
9. Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With (3:17)
10. The Power to Believe III (4:09)
11. The Power to Believe IV: Coda (2:29)

Total Time: 51:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / guitar, vocals
- Robert Fripp / guitar
- Trey Gunn / Warr fretted & fretless guitars
- Pat Mastelotto / drums & drum programming

With:
- Tim Faulkner / voice source (4)
- Bill Munyon / sound design (additional)

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Doors - 1978 [1995] "An American Prayer"

An American Prayer is the ninth and final studio album by the Doors. In 1978, seven years after lead singer Jim Morrison died and five years after the remaining members of the band broke up, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore reunited and recorded backing tracks over Morrison's poetry (originally recorded in 1969 and 1970). Other pieces of music and spoken word recorded by the Doors and Morrison were also used in the audio collage, such as dialogue from Morrison's film HWY: An American Pastoral and snippets from jam sessions.
The album received mixed reviews and still divides critics, yet it has managed a platinum certification in the US. When the album was originally released, longtime Doors' producer Paul A. Rothchild labeled the album a "rape of Jim Morrison". Rothchild claimed that he had heard all of the reels of master tapes from both the 1969 and the 1970 poetry sessions, insisting that the three remaining Doors failed to realize Morrison's original intent for an audio presentation of the poetry. Morrison himself, prior to leaving for Paris, had approached composer Lalo Schifrin as a possible contributor for the music tracks meant to accompany the poetry, with no participation from any of the other Doors members. In addition, he had developed some conception of the album cover art work by January 1971, and was in correspondence with artist T. E. Breitenbach to design this cover in the form of a triptych (a three-paneled painting with various images embedded in each panel). However, John Haeny, who recorded the original session tapes with Morrison in 1970 and safeguarded them before the project was resurrected as An American Prayer, insisted that the album "was made by those people who were closest to Jim, both personally and artistically" and "everyone had the best intentions", stating: "Jim would be pleased. Jim would have understood our motivation and appreciated our dedication and heartfelt handling of his work.

Moody and mesmerizing, An American Prayer is an interesting album of Jim Morrison reading his poetry over the Doors' music. An American Prayer was finished by the remaining members of the Doors after Morrison's death and finally released in 1978 (it was remastered and re-released in 1995 with bonus tracks). Those familiar with the lyrics of the Doors will not be surprised, but others may be put off because Morrison is unafraid to use crude imagery and talk unabashedly about taboo topics such as sex and religion. Although many dismiss his poetry as simplistic random musings, Morrison is a gifted lyricist with a vivid imagination. The album also demonstrates how the other musicians in the band create a mood that breathes life into Morrison's dark, twisted visions. The music excerpts of "Peace Frog" and "Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" provide a welcome air of familiarity, and the definitive live version of "Roadhouse Blues" in the middle of the album provides a nice respite from the barrage of stories and metaphors. However, An American Prayer must be listened to in one sitting to be fully appreciated, preferably at nighttime when one is alone and can devote full attention to the listening experience. This album is not for everyone, but is a must-own for Doors completists and fans of Jim Morrison's poetry.

It was Robby’s idea. Jim had been haunting him for a while. Maybe it wasn’t a true haunting in the classic sense or definition but Robby had been having dreams of Jim Morrison reciting his poetry. Robby called engineer John Haeny to see if he knew where the tapes were that Jim had recorded on his 27th birthday on December 8th, 1970.  Haeny still had the tapes and the first step was taken in what would be an album of Jim Morrison’s poetry known as “An American Prayer”.

An American Prayer: The Cover

The Dec. 8th, 1970 recordings were made with an eye towards Jim Morrison recording a solo album of his poetry. Morrison had secured a contract with Elektra founder Jac Holzman for the album and he wanted to start recording it. He invited Frank and Kathy Lisciandro, Alain Ronay, and Florentine Pabst to the studio for the recording. Haeny gave Morrison a bottle of Old Bushmills whiskey (on the “An American Prayer” CD on the bonus track, “Ghost Song”, the tape was still rolling and Morrison says, “one more thing”, then you can hear him take a swig off the bottle; you have to turn the volume up to hear it), and the session lasted approximately four hours. If the scene sounds familiar Oliver Stone used it in his movie “The Doors”. Recordings from the March 1969 recording session were also used but by the 1970 “birthday sessions” Morrison had revised a lot of the previously recorded poems.

The surviving Doors recorded “An American Prayer” using (besides Morrison’s poetry sessions) materials from The Doors catalog, recordings of live Doors shows and sound effects. They recorded new music using much of the poetry, editing and splicing Morrison’s voice in and around the music.

“An American Prayer” was released in November of 1978* and roughly outlines the life of Jim Morrison from birth (‘wake up!’), childhood, teenage years and coming of age, to being a rock star/sex symbol, and the elegiac poem “An American Prayer”. “An American Prayer” was released to generally good reviews.  Although it didn’t get a lot of radio play because of Morrison’s use of expletives, it was the only Doors album nominated for a Grammy and at 250,000 copies sold upon its release makes it the largest selling spoken-word album.

All the members of The Doors ‘family’ thought “An American Prayer” a fitting tribute to Morrison and his wish to be regarded as a poet. The lone exception was longtime Doors producer Paul Rothchild, who called “An American Prayer” “the rape of Jim Morrison” and compared it to “taking a Picasso and cutting it into postage stamp-sized pieces and spreading it across a supermarket wall”. Rothchild also cited Morrison’s intentions of producing a poetry album as a solo project, separate from The Doors, and without rock music using more classical orchestrations or with avant garde orchestrations such as with Lalo Schifrin (who did the soundtrack to 60’s classics “Cool Hand Luke” and “Mission Impossible”). Part of Morrison’s vision for his poetry album was the commissioning of a triptych by artist T.E. Breitenbach, it shows the elements Morrison thought important, a moonlit beach with naked couples running around, a city at noon “insane with activity,” and a desert scene at night seen through the windshield of a car.

Tracks Listing:

- Awake -
1. Awake (0:36)
2. Ghost Song (2:51)
3. Dawn's Highway (1:22)
4. Newborn Awakening (2:26)
- To Come Of Age -
5. To Come Of Age (1:02)
6. Black Polished Chrome (1:08)
7. Latino Chrome (2:15)
8. Angels And Sailors (2:47)
9. Stoned Immaculate (1:33)
- The Poet's Dreams -
10. The Movie (1:36)
11. Curses, Invocations (1:58)
- World On Fire -
12. American Night (0:28)
13. Roadhouse Blues (5:53)
14. The World On Fire (1:07)
15. Lament (2:19)
16. The Hitchhiker (2:16)
- An American Prayer -
17. An American Prayer (3:04)
18. Hour For Magic (1:18)
19. Freedom Exists (0:20)
20. A Feast Of Friends (2:11)

Total Time 38:28

Bonus tracks on 1995 CD remaster:
21. Babylon Fading (1:40)
22. Bird Of Prey (1:04)
23. The Ghost Song (5:16)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Morrison - vocals, spoken word (recorded on February 9, 1969 and December 8, 1970)
And:
- Ray Manzarek / keyboards, piano bass
- Robby Krieger / guitars
- John Densmore / drums

With:
- Arthur Barrow / synth programming (10)
- Jerry Scheff / bass (20)
- Bob Glaub / bass (20)
- Reinol Andino / percussion (10)

The Doors - 2003 Legacy "The Absolute Best"

Legacy: The Absolute Best is a two-disc compilation album by the Doors released in 2003. This compilation includes the uncensored versions of both "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" (the lyrics "she gets high" are restored) and "The End" (with Morrison's liberal use of the word "fuck" during the song's interlude). Also included is an unreleased 1968 studio version of Morrison's epic stagepiece "Celebration of the Lizard" in its entirety.
The album debuted on the Billboard 200 on August 30, 2003 at number 63. It remained on the chart for 4 weeks. Wiki.

Truth be told, most casual Doors fans only need a well-assembled single-disc collection, containing all the hits and radio staples. Since that doesn't exist -- Rhino's 2001 collection The Very Best of the Doors missed too many key songs to suit the bill -- they'll have to settle for the comprehensive 2003 Rhino compilation Legacy: The Absolute Best, a double-disc set that replaces the previous double-disc Doors comp, the 1985 set The Best of the Doors. That collection contained 19 tracks, the number of songs that are on the first disc of this exhaustive 34-track overview. Every one of the tunes from The Best of the Doors is on Legacy, but not in the same order, since the songs on this compilation are put in roughly chronological order. Legacy also tries to give equal weight to each of the Doors albums, pulling anywhere from four to eight tracks from all the studio albums, adding "Gloria" from Alive, She Cried and a previously unissued "Celebration of the Lizard" to the end of the record. This winds up giving a thorough overview of the band's peak, whether it's on the familiar hits or on strong album cuts like "My Eyes Have Seen You" or "The Changeling." There are a couple of omissions -- most notably "Love Street" and "Summer's Almost Gone" from Waiting for the Sun and also "Ship of Fools" and "Land Ho!" from Morrison Hotel -- but overall, this draws as complete a picture as possible. It still may be a little bit much for those who just want the hits (they're all here, plus a whole lot more), but there's little question that Legacy is the best Doors compilation yet assembled. All Music.

Wow I'm there Utah them as they play it's like they are in my house playing my system is a jvc 470 watt so you know I'm in Door heaven. Riders on a storm is my fav yet after watching Val Kilmer rocked as Jim and watching other stuff on the doors one night I watched a documentary and I said I must get more of hat I heard this band is solid and stands the test of time I'll say this all the music made by then was classic music and will never be duplicated ever Iam buying all the greats and go back in time when brother and sister was real and the changing times blew our. Minds into truths about ourselves. By coolhandluke 19.

These tracks have been remastered, sounding better than ever, so, soundwise, there is no better compilation out there. No other compilation out there, even the 2CD's, has as many tracks as this. Of course, there will always be a personal favourite left out. One of my personal favs - The SPY - is not here, but its understandable, they cant please anyone. But all the BIG hits, the BIG album tracks are here. So, this compilation gives the newbie the best deal. When the Beatles 1 compilation was issued, many of us attacked it because it was just a cash in, nothing for the fans that had bought those titles dozens of times. Imagine how much better that compilation would have been if they had included the full 40 min jam session of helter skelter. So, why is everyone complaining on celebration of the lizard? This is a gift for the fans, that already have the best live versions of this song, but still want to listen to everything in the vaults. This is an excellent compilation, and except for the terrible linear notes, written by complete fools whom have nothing to say about the music of this band, this should serve as an example for other bands on how to put a decent compilation. By Blues Bro VINE VOICE.

The Doors' 2003 2-CD retrospective entitled Legacy : The Absolute Best of The Doors was released in August of 2003.
The band had been subjected to compilations before this like 1970's 13, 1972's Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, 1973's Best Of the Doors, 1980's Greatest Hits and the 1987 2-disc version of The Best of The Doors. Then in 2003 came Legacy : The Absolute Best Of the Doors which was brilliantly put together by the three surviving Doors members (keyboard player Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore) plus longstanding engineer Bruce Botnick with remastered sound plus an informative booklet with essays from T.C. Boyle and Jim Ladd plus album credits and chart position listings of tunes that were singles. This collection is still the best Doors compilation in my view, as I found out when I acquired in its first week in August of 2003.
Disc one focuses on material from the band's first three brilliant studio albums. The Doors' classic 1967 self titled debut album is represented by eight tracks which were the classic opener "Break On Through" (which is the uncensored version with the phrase "she get high" (which was eliminated from original mix)), the bluesy "Soul Kitchen", the relaxing "Crystal Ship", the rollicking "Twentieth Century Fox", the classic version of "Whiskey Bar (The Alabama Song)", plus the band's first #1 hit "Light My Fire" in all its 7 minute glory, their excellent version of "Backdoor Man" and the closing epic "The End" which is here uncensored with the late Jim Morrison letting out a barrage of "F bombs".
The band's October, 1967 second effort, the Top 10 charting Strange Days is represented by the title cut plus the album's big hit single "People Are Strange", the slithering "Moonlight Drive", the deep cut "My Eyes have Seen You" and the other classic epic closer "When The Music's Over" which is one of the best Doors tracks ever.
Then the band's only US #1 album, 1968's Waiting For the Sun is represented by the band's second US #1 hit "Hello I Love You", the fittingly Latin-tinged "Spanish Caravan", one section of the proposed side long track The Celebration Of The Lizard out of "Not to Touch the Earth" (which closes CD 1 of this compilation), the anti-Vietnam war track "The Unknown Soldier" (which has always been one of my favorite Doors tracks with Jim Morrison acting out the firing squad part brilliantly) and that album's rocking closer "Five to One".
Disc two picks up with 1969's controversial album but another Top 10 called The Soft Parade. It's represented by the album's opener "Tell All the People" plus the album's biggest hit "Touch Me" and also included is one of my favorite Doors rockers called "Wild Child" and the excellent "Wishful Sinful".
The classic back to basics album Morrison Hotel (another US Top 5 effort from 1970) is represented by the rollicking rocker "Roadhouse Blues", "Waiting For the Sun" (I believe written for the third album but scrapped until Morrison Hotel), the brilliant "You Make Me Real" and of course the rocker "Peace Frog".
Then half of the band's final album with charismatic frontman Jim Morrison, 1971's L.A. Woman is represented by the excellent opener "The Changeling", the Top 20 hit "Love Her Madly", the eight minute epic title cut, the excellent rock radio staple "The WASP (Texas Radio and Big Beat)" and of course the closing track "Riders On the Storm" (which fittingly was the last track Jim recorded with the band before his untimely death in July of 1971.
We fast forward to the 1983's posthumous live album Alive She Cried for their classic version of Van Morrison (no relation) and Them's "Gloria" which The Doors brilliantly made their own although they didn't ever do a studio version.
We close with the studio version of "The Celebration Of the Lizard" which is an excellent epic length piece.
Legacy : The Absolute Best Of the Doors did reasonably well on the charts but is now discontinued as the 2007 2-CD Very Best Of The Doors package which has all of the songs remixed with mixed results and some tunes replacing what is on here. If you want a best of with the original mixes remastered in an uncompressed manner, this is the Doors collection for you!
RECOMMENDED!!!
By Terrence J. Reardon.
 
Track listing:

Disc one

  1. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" (Jim Morrison) – 2:29
  2. "Back Door Man" (Willie Dixon, Chester Burnett) – 3:34
  3. "Light My Fire" (Robby Krieger) – 7:08
  4. "Twentieth Century Fox" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 2:23
  5. "The Crystal Ship" (Morrison) – 2:34
  6. "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" (Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill) – 3:19
  7. "Soul Kitchen" (Morrison) – 3:35
  8. "The End" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 11:46
  9. "Love Me Two Times" (Krieger) – 3:16
  10. "People Are Strange" (Krieger, Morrison) – 2:12
  11. "When the Music's Over" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 11:02
  12. "My Eyes Have Seen You" (Morrison) – 2:29
  13. "Moonlight Drive" (Morrison) – 3:04
  14. "Strange Days" (Morrison) – 3:09
  15. "Hello, I Love You" (Morrison) – 2:16
  16. "The Unknown Soldier" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 3:25
  17. "Spanish Caravan" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 3:01
  18. "Five to One" (Morrison) – 4:27
  19. "Not to Touch the Earth" (Morrison) – 3:54

Disc two

  1. "Touch Me" (Krieger) – 3:12
  2. "Wild Child" (Morrison) – 2:38
  3. "Tell All the People" (Krieger) – 3:21
  4. "Wishful Sinful" (Krieger) – 2:58
  5. "Roadhouse Blues" (Morrison) – 4:04
  6. "Waiting for the Sun" (Morrison) – 4:00
  7. "You Make Me Real" (Morrison) – 2:53
  8. "Peace Frog" (Krieger, Morrison) – 2:58
  9. "Love Her Madly" (Krieger) – 3:18
  10. "L.A. Woman" (Morrison) – 7:51
  11. "Riders on the Storm" (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek, Morrison) – 7:10
  12. "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" (Morrison) – 4:15
  13. "The Changeling" (Morrison) – 4:21
  14. "Gloria" (Van Morrison) – 6:18
  15. "Celebration of the Lizard" (Morrison) – 17:01
    • "Lions in the Street"
    • "Wake Up!"
    • "A Little Game"
    • "The Hill Dwellers"
    • "Not to Touch the Earth"
    • "Names of the Kingdom"
    • "The Palace of Exile"
Line-up / Musicians:
 
- Jim Morrison / vocals
- Ray Manzarek / keyboards
- John Densmore / drums
- Robby Krieger / guitar

Additional Musicians:
- Douglas Lubahn / occasional bass (tracks 9-19, disc 1; tracks 1-4, disc 2), electric bass (track 17, disc 1)
- Kerry Magness / bass (track 16, disc 1)
- Leroy Vinegar / acoustic bass (track 17, disc 1)
- Harvey Brooks / bass (tracks 1-4, disc 2)
- Curtis Amy / sax solo (track 1, disc 2)
- Paul Harris / orchestral arrangements (tracks 1-4, disc 2)
- Ray Neopolitan / bass (tracks 5-8, disc 2)
- Lonnie Mack / bass (track 5, disc 2)
- G. Puglese (alias for John Sebastian) / harp (track 5, disc 2)
- Jerry Scheff / bass (tracks 9-13, disc 2)
- Marc Benno / rhythm guitar (track 10, disc 2)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

James Muller - 2006 "Kaboom"

Australian guitarist JamesMuller makes a potentstatement on his fourth release as a leader, originally issued in 2006 and recently re-pressed. Recorded in New York with drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Matt Penman, Kaboom showcases Muller’s startling six-string facility and fresh compositional style. Highlights include the swinging title track; the edgy “D Blues,” full of daring intervallic leaps and rapid-fire single-note streams; and Muller’s soulful and swinging tribute tune “Chick Corea,” on which he burns up the fretboard yet again. Muller closes with a straight reading of “All the Things You Are” that has him blowing over the bar line with jaw-dropping abandon. For sheer speed, spotless articulation and fertile ideas, Muller ranks right up there with fellow Aussie chopsmeister Frank Gambale.

Geography is the only reason that James Muller isn't as well-known as he should be. Having spent most of his life in his native Australia, the guitarist, now in his early thirties, has racked up a significant number of releases including Sonic Fiction's Changing With the Times, pianist Mark Isaac's Closer and the recent JazzGroove Mothership Orchestra's The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock. Fusion fans may know him for his recent work with drummer Chad Wackerman. Every project seems to reveal another side to this virtuosic player, begging the question: will the real James Muller please stand up?
Kaboom, Muller's fourth album as a leader, comes from a session recorded during time spent in New York. He may be the sum of his influences, but his own voice emerges on this set of five self-penned tunes, plus two by fellow Aussie Sean Wayland and one standard. Muller eschews the heavily overdriven tone he used with Wackerman for a cleaner and occasionally chorused tone that's still got plenty of bite. Bassist Matt Penman and drummer Bill Stewart round out a trio rooted in the mainstream, but still filled with plenty of surprises.
Muller's chordal approach resembles John Scofield's, though he's less blues-informed. He communicates a hint of folksiness at times that references Pat Metheny, but he avoids any of the guitar icon's signatures, though his solo style is equally focused. The occasional descending legato run suggests Allan Holdsworth, but he's less abstruse in nature and isn't averse to letting his guitar sound like a guitar.
The charts are primarily solo vehicles, but they're memorable, despite their brevity. There's plenty of room to stretch, but Muller's innate sense of construction never loses sight of the bigger picture. Peppering linear phrases with attractive chordal voicings, Muller creates tension by taking things ever so slightly outside, but never at the expense of melodic development; this quality is shared by Stewart, one of today's most distinctly musical drummers.
The trio swings hard on "D Blues," evokes bittersweet melancholy on the balladic "Eindhoven" and burns brightly on the fiery "Chick Corea." There's plenty of energy, but despite Muller's pungent tone, the overall vibe is more about smooth surfaces than sharp edges. While there's underlying form, there's also a strong simpatico that lets the trio take enough chances to keep listeners on their toes.
With the number of guitarists flooding the jazz scene these days, it's hard to stand out, but Muller does just that on Kaboom, further evidence of a vibrant Australian scene that's still waiting to be discovered by an international audience.

2012 Re-press. Australian guitarist James Muller have been always spoken in musician circles highly praised by John Scofield, Chad Wackerman and others. On this brand new release he teams up with Scofield bandmate Bill Stewart on drums and Matt Penman on bass. Kaboom has five of James' compositions, two by Sean Wayland and one standard by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. Recorded in NYC it's a absolute blinder - listen to it and you'll see why John Scofield rates James as one of THE top players.

Really great compositions and inspired playing by everyone. I can't recommend this enough. You will not be disappointed. Muller is a monster guitarist, and Bill Stewart is his usual awesome self.

I find this CD from Australian guitarist James Muller to be a refreshing listen. Influences of early Metheny and Scofield are in the playing but he has his own style. Matt Penman is on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. Both have played with Scofield.My CD comes with a sticker recommendation from John Scofield. I quote "This is a great album.James has it all....I love his playing."
James Muller can also be heard on CDs by the Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band and the Subterraneans.
 


Track Listing:

01 Honeycombs;
02 Kaboom;
03 Stacked;
04 D Blues;
05 Eindhoven;
06 Chick Corea;
07 Marcello;
08 All the Things You Are.

Personnel:

James Muller: guitar;
Matt Penman: bass;
Bill Stewart: drums.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Chris Potter - 2002 "Traveling Mercies"

Chris Potter’s “Traveling Mercies,” the followup to his highly acclaimed “Gratitude” album, is in many ways better, but in all ways more adventurous. “Gratitude” paid saxophone debts to the past with tunes dedicated to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, but on the new release, Potter is in a traveling mood — ready to explore. Part of his success comes from his ability to simultaneously face jazz’s past and future.

Potter wastes no time getting into a strong electric mode, with guitarist John Scofield sitting in on the first track, “Megalopolis.” They lay down the lead line with a quirky offbeat and plenty of energy. The band, whose players — keyboardist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart — are all top-notch, make complicated rhythms seem easy. They kick into 4/4 for a couple of tunes, but stick with a freer rhythmic structure that offers both tension and release. “Snake Oil,” for example, stops and starts, gets going, then hesitates, fast-forwards, and then takes a couple of steps back. It’s dizzying, but intriguing.

Other tracks, though, are as pretty and lyrical as any jazz around. “Invisible Man” has a lonesome melody that Potter renders on flute. The delicacy of the tune creates a faraway, natural space for everyone in the band to solo in careful whispers. In contrast, the meaty version of the traditional spiritual “Go Children” digs into hand-clapping, straight-up pleasure, the bass lines and chord changes tempering the gospel with gritty blues.

“Migrations” brings together his musical journeys, containing a little of everything. It starts with a funky, guitar-fueled melody, but then transforms entirely, easing into a reflective tempo that is light and otherworldly. These abrupt shifts may put off listeners who are more attuned to a consistent, straight-ahead beat, but the textures and nuances flow together effortlessly under Potter’s sax lines.

At times, he pushes jazz to its limits, but always returns to a satisfying coherence. This musical sense, along with his straight-ahead sax playing, has made him one of the most compelling young jazz players around. Acoustic-minded jazz fans may prefer the traditional flavor of “Gratitude,” but the electric guitar, well-chosen sampling and fresh arrangements show that “Traveling Mercies” looks in a different direction.

Chris Potter gets more and more adventurous. On this follow-up to the strong Gratitude, the tenor and soprano saxophonist beefs up strong writing and heady group interplay with occasional sampled sounds and miscellaneous textures like clavinet and reed organ. True to form, he plays additional wind instruments -- alto flute and bass clarinet in this case -- and isn't afraid of overdubbing them to create lush orchestration, on tracks like "Snake Oil" and "Any Moment Now." On the haunting "Invisible Man" he even doubles the alto flute melody with his singing voice. Not until the fifth track, a Meters-like adaptation of the spiritual "Children Go," do you hear a 4/4 tempo; loping lines over odd meters prevail, with pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Bill Stewart expertly laying down the edgy grooves. (Like on Gratitude, Hays doubles on Fender Rhodes.) John Scofield contributes tart solos on three tracks, while Adam Rogers adds nylon-string and slide colors on two others. The sweeping, Metheny-esque harmonies of "Highway One" bring the program to a head, followed by a closing bass clarinet/piano duo on Willie Nelson's "Just as I Am." As a jazz record, Traveling Mercies is very much a product of its post-millennial times, but it still comes across as highly individual. Its value will be lasting.

Walking in jazz saxophonist Chris Potter's shoes on his new recording Traveling Mercies may prove to be a rewarding experience for the exploratory listener. The multitalented musician has covered a lot of ground on recent tours and sessions with acclaimed recordings such as the Dave Holland Quintet's Not for Nothin' and Steely Dan's Two Against Nature. His skill as musician, composer, and arranger comes to the forefront on Traveling Mercies to give the listener a glimpse of the musical roads he has traveled so well.

The idea behind the new recording comes from the artist's reflections of recent tours as a bandleader and sideman. The listener will receive a musical itinerary that is layered with different textures and environments, which offers a modern jazz mentality. This is a departure from his previous recording Gratitude which paid homage to great saxophonists such as John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. The music now infuses elements such as sound samples, electric keyboards, guitars, and various elements to create a kaleidoscope of sound.

Potter possesses a strong tenor sound, which is throaty and deep with meaning, but it's a real treat to hear him on bass clarinet, flute, and odd instrumentation such as the reed organ. Combine this with exceptional compositional skills, and choice musicians; Traveling Mercies is a cut above the rest. Guitar wizards, John Scofield and Adam Rogers enhance the mix with progressive playing on many of the selections. Kevin Hays provides nice work on the piano and Fender Rhodes, while bassist Scott Colley and drummer Bill Stewart are a tried and true formula for tight rhythms. Highlights abound on the recording such as the atmospheric "Highway One" and the multi-textured "Any Moment Now," which is a testament to Potter's arranging skills. The recording concludes with the serene "Just as I Am," which features a lovely piano and clarinet duet.

Highly recommended.

Track Listing:

01 Megalopolis;
02 Snake Oil;
03 Invisible Man;
04 Washed Ashore;
05 Children Go;
06 Any Moment Now;
07 Migrations;
08 Azalea;
09 Highway One;
10 Just as I Am.

Personnel:

Chris Potter -tenor and soprano saxophone, alto flute, bass clarinet, reed organ, clavinet, sampler, percussion, voice;
John Scofield -guitar;
Adam Rogers -acoustic and slide guitar;
Kevin Hays -piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet;
Scott Colley -bass;
Bill Stewart -drums

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mike Stern - 1994 "Is What It Is"

"IS WHAT IT IS" was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance in the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
Mike Stern is one of the more creative fusion guitarists, playing with the power of rock but often taking sophisticated improvisations. On this passionate set (which consists of nine of his originals), Stern is joined by the keyboards of Jim Beard, bassist Will Lee, Dennis Chambers or Ben Perowsky on drums and (on three songs apiece) the tenors of Michael Brecker and Bob Malach. Overall this is one of Mike Stern's better recordings.

Reviewer Ries van Schelven writes about guitarist Mike Stern's 1994 release "Is What It Is", "This is, in my opinion, Stern's best solo album. This album is full of jewels. It has a definite jazz/rock sound to it, but has it's pure moments as well. The album starts of with "Swunk", a typical Stern composition featuring Michael Brecker on tenor sax and a kick ass solo. Next, "A Little Luck" which is brilliant guitar work. Then it's ballad time again, "What I Meant To Say", one of my favorites on the album - a soaring melodic piece, showing Mike's brilliance. Then comes some funky stuff on "Showbiz". Listen to the acoustic masterpiece "Wherever You Are", which features Harvie Swartz on the upright acoustic bass. The phrasing is breathtaking. The best piece is "Signs" - this is Mike Stern. The structure of the solo is incredible. It has Mike Stern's signature all over it. I like when he uses his overdrive. It kicks ass! Definitely his best solo album."

At one time swing was just another kind of dance music with a rhythm of utilitarian regularity. It was only in the hands of drummers like Sid Catlett and Sonny Greer that swing acquired enough flexibility to be useful in jazz. Baltimore's Dennis Chambers, a drummer for Parliament-Funkadelic and John Scofield, is now bringing a similar flexibility to another dance music, funk. On Is What It Is, by former Miles Davis guitarist Mike Stern, Chambers proves that funk can be as infinitely variable as swing, and the soloists respond with a rhythmic freedom unusual in fusion.

This is what it is what is it... I mean, this really IS Mike Stern's best work. All tunes are almost great more or less.
"Swunk" is a quite typical Mike Stern rock/fusion tune, "A little luck" is almost beautiful Stern-piece, third song is always ballad "What I meant to say" is however quite boring tune but Tracks 4-8 are just Greats! "Showbiz" is nice funky humorsong and "Believe it" is really good bluestune with very beautiful and tuff solo, "Wherever you are" is ballad again, but much better than "What I meant to say". Nice basswork by Harwie Swartz, "Ha ha hotel" is maybe Stern's best song of this kind. Crazy melody, high tempo, great basslines and realy tuff guitarsolo and saxsolo by Bob Malach. "Signs" is perhaps Mike's best song ever, all Mike's best elements could be heard and guitarsolo is amazing! Melody and bassline are just fine and doesn't need any "specialharmony", great composition! Last song "55 dive" is again more typical jazzypiece but still quite good theme and good solos by Mike and Bob. If you haven't heard this CD yet, I give you just one tip: Buy it today!

How would I advise you to enjoy Is What It Is?... Well... Just relax in an armchair, boost off-limits your fine-tuned stereo set... Program tracks #2, #6, and #8... Close your eyes...
Then feel Mike's music lifting you up gently above the clouds. Imagine you're riding a jet of some supersonic capabilities (but it's really not the point here). Imagine there's a button on the board you may press.
So, wait for Mike's smooth shifts towards pure crystal and aerial sounds he's the only one to reach with the distortion pedal this way... Wait for him to enter the most delicate, the clearest, the richest, and the most powerful solos you'll ever have listened to so far...
Push the button at that time, as Mike invites you to... Lift off to the stratosphere, and ride outer space...
If you loved this journey, turn to Tell Me, and Pages, on Mike's Between The Lines album, and to If You Say So, on Odds Or Evens, and discover what the best jazz-rock guitarist has to offer: the most beautiful aerial music ever.

Track listing:

07:53     Swunk    
06:36     A Little Luck    
06:20     What I Meant To Say    
05:43     Showbiz    
04:32     Believe It    
05:32     Wherever You Are    
06:10     Ha Ha Hotel    
07:48     Signs
05:44     55 Dive    

Personnel:

Mike Stern - Guitar
Michael Brecker - Saxophone
Jim Beard - Synthesizers, Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer Piano, Production, Additional Engineering
Will Lee - Bass
Dennis Chambers - Drums
Ben Perowsky - Drums
Harvie Swartz - Acoustic Bass
Bob Malach - Saxophone

Various Artists - 1993 Gold Encore Series "The World of Contemporary Jazz Groups"

GRP Records is an American jazz record company, owned by Universal Music Group and operates through its Verve Music Group. The company's name has had different meanings. In its early days, it stood for "Grusin/Rosen Productions," after the founders. By the middle 1990s, after Grusin and Rosen left the company, GRP used the marketing slogan "Great Records Period."

Dave Grusin, a pianist and producer, and Larry Rosen, a drummer and recording engineer, established a production company in 1976 that recorded nontraditional jazz musicians like Earl Klugh and Lee Ritenour. When they founded GRP in 1978, they continued to concentrate on this fusion of jazz, pop, and rock.[1]
GRP was distributed by Arista until 1982. It was independent until 1987, when it made a deal with MCA Distributing. In 1990 MCA bought GRP, giving the latter use of the catalogues of Impulse! and Decca, which GRP began to reissue on CD. New recordings at GRP included music by David Benoit, Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Eddie Daniels, Mercer Ellington, Kevin Eubanks, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Haslip, Eric Marienthal, Gerry Mulligan, John Patitucci, the Rippingtons, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schuur, and Dave Valentin.[1]
GRP's use of Soundstream and digital recording contributed to the success of the label. Grusin's album Mountain Dance (1979) was one of the earliest all-digital recordings outside of classical music.

Tracklist

    1. The Rippingtons - Curves Ahead
    2. Acoustic Alchemy - Reference Point
    3. Spyro Gyra - Morning Dance
    4. The Crusaders - Shake Dance
    5. The Brecker Brothers - Song For Barry
    6. Special EFX - Daybreak
    7. Gary Burton - Reunion
    8. Chick Corea - Inside Out

Personnel:

    Russ Freeman - Synthesizer, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Keyboards
    Eric Marienthal - Saxophone
    Marcus Miller - Bass, Programming
    Chieli Minucci - Synthesizer, Guitar (Acoustic), Producer
    Tony Morales - Drums
    Dave Samuels - Marimba, Drums (Steel)
    Fernando Saunders - Bass
    Bert Smaak - Drums
    Klaus Sperber - Guitar (Bass)
    Kim Stone - Bass
    Steve Szabo - Trumpet
    Nick Webb - Guitar
    Dave Weckl - Drums
    Kenny Werner - Piano
    George Whitty - Keyboards
    Ted Reinhardt - Drums
    Don Alias - Percussion
    Jimmy Haslip - Bass
    George Jinda - Cymbals, Shaker, Producer, Sound Effects, Bells, Triangle
    Alex Acuña - Percussion
    Mario Argandona - Percussion
    Rubens Bassini -  Percussion
    Jay Beckenstein -  Saxophone, Producer
    Randy Brecker - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
    William Bubba Bryant - Drums
    Greg Carmichael - Guitar
    Lenny Castro - Percussion
    Chick Corea - Synthesizer, Accordion, Producer, MIDI Piano
    Lionel Cordew - Drums
    Steve Croes - Synclavier
    Terry Disley - Keyboards
    Wilton Felder - Synthesizer
    Russell Ferrante - Synthesizer
    Mitchel Forman - Piano, Keyboards
    Jeff Kashiwa - Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)
    William Kennedy - Drums
    Kim Kurzdorfer - Bass
    Michael Landau - Guitar
    Armand Sabal-Lecco - Bass, Piccolo Bass
    Mark Ledford - Vocals
    Will Lee - Bass (Electric)
    John Tropea - Guitar
    The Brecker Brothers - Producer, Performer
    Michael Brecker - Synthesizer, Keyboards, Sax (Tenor), Programming
    Gary Burton - Producer, Vibraphone, Performer
    Peter Erskine - Percussion, Drums

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Who - 1970 [1995] "Live At Leeds"

Live at Leeds is the first live album by the English rock band The Who. It was the only live album that was released while the group were still actively recording and performing with their best known line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Initially released in the United States on 16 May 1970, by Decca and MCA and the United Kingdom on 23 May 1970, by Track and Polydor, the album has been reissued on several occasions and in several different formats. Since its initial reception, Live at Leeds has been cited by several music critics as the best live rock recording of all time.

By the end of the 1960s, particularly after releasing Tommy in May 1969, The Who had become cited by many as one of the best live rock acts in the world. According to biographer Chris Charlesworth, "a sixth sense seemed to take over", leading them to "a kind of rock nirvana that most bands can only dream about". The band were rehearsing and touring regularly, and Townshend had settled on using the Gibson SG as his main touring instrument, that allowed him to play faster than other guitars. He began using Hiwatt amplifiers that allowed him to get a variety of tones simply by adjusting the guitar's volume level.
Realising that their live show stood in equal importance to the rock-opera format of Tommy, the group returned to England at the end of 1969 with a desire to release a live album from concerts recorded earlier in the US. However, Townshend balked at the prospect of listening to all the accumulated recordings to decide which would make the best album, and, according to Charlesworth, instructed sound engineer Bob Pridden to burn the tapes. Townshend later confirmed the tapes were indeed burnt in his back garden.
Two shows were consequently scheduled, one at the University of Leeds and the other in Hull, for the express purpose of recording and releasing a live album. The Leeds concert was booked and arranged by Simon Brogan, who later became an assistant manager on tour with Jethro Tull. The shows were performed on 14 February 1970 at Leeds and on 15 February 1970 at Hull, but technical problems with the recordings from the Hull gig — the bass guitar had not been recorded on some of the songs — made it all the more necessary for the show from the 14th to be released as the album.

The cover was designed by Beadrall Sutcliffe and resembled that of a bootleg LP of the era, parodying the Rolling Stones' Live'r Than You'll Ever Be. It contains plain brown cardboard with "The Who Live At Leeds" printed on it in plain blue or red block letters as if stamped on with ink (on the original first English pressing of 300, this stamp is black). The original cover opened out, gatefold-style, and had a pocket on either side of the interior, with the record in a paper sleeve on one side and 12 facsimiles of various memorabilia on the other, including a photo of the band from the My Generation photoshoot in March 1965, handwritten lyrics to the "Listening to You" chorus from Tommy, the typewritten lyrics to "My Generation", with hand written notes, a receipt for smoke bombs, a rejection letter from EMI, and the early black "Maximum R&B" poster showing Pete Townshend wind-milling his Rickenbacker. The first 500 copies included a copy of the contract for the Who to play at the Woodstock Festival.
The label was handwritten (reportedly by Townshend), and included instructions to the engineers not to attempt to remove any crackling noise. This is probably a reference to the clicking and popping on the pre-remastered version (notably in "Shakin' All Over") which was from John Entwistle's bass cable. Modern digital remastering techniques allowed this to be removed, and also allowed some of the worst-affected tracks from the gig to be used; on CD releases, the label reads, "Crackling noises have been corrected!

Rushed out in 1970 as a way to bide time as the Who toiled away on their follow-up to Tommy, Live at Leeds wasn't intended to be the definitive Who live album, and many collectors maintain that the band had better shows available on bootlegs. But those shows weren't easily available whereas Live at Leeds was, and even if this show may not have been the absolute best, it's so damn close to it that it would be impossible for anybody but aficionados to argue. Here, the Who sound vicious -- as heavy as Led Zeppelin but twice as volatile -- as they careen through early classics with the confidence of a band that had finally achieved acclaim but had yet to become preoccupied with making art. In that regard, this recording -- in its many different forms -- may have been perfectly timed in terms of capturing the band at a pivotal moment in its history.
There is certainly no better record of how this band was a volcano of violence on-stage, teetering on the edge of chaos but never blowing apart. This was most true on the original LP, which was a trim six tracks, three of them covers ("Young Man Blues," "Summertime Blues," "Shakin' All Over") and three originals from the mid-'60s, two of those ("Substitute," "My Generation") vintage parts of their repertory and only "Magic Bus" representing anything resembling a recent original, with none bearing a trace of their mod roots. This was pure, distilled power, all the better for its brevity; throughout the '70s the album was seen as one of the gold standards in live rock & roll, and certainly it had a fury that no proper Who studio album achieved. It was also notable as one of the earliest legitimate albums to implicitly acknowledge -- and go head to head with -- the existence of bootleg LPs. Indeed, its very existence owed something to the efforts of Pete Townshend and company to stymie the bootleggers.
The Who had made extensive recordings of performances along their 1969 tour, with the intention of preparing a live album from that material, but they recognized when it was over that none of them had the time or patience to go through the many dozens of hours of live performances in order to sort out what to use for the proposed album. According to one account, the band destroyed those tapes in a massive bonfire, so that none of the material would ever surface without permission. They then decided to go to the other extreme in preparing a live album, scheduling this concert at Leeds University and arranging the taping, determined to do enough that was worthwhile at the one show. As it turned out, even here they generated an embarrassment of riches -- the band did all of Tommy, as audiences of the time would have expected (and, indeed, demanded), but as the opera was already starting to feel like an albatross hanging around the collective neck of the band (and especially Townshend), they opted to leave out any part of their most famous work apart from a few instrumental strains in one of the jams. Instead, the original LP was limited to the six tracks named, and that was more than fine as far as anyone cared.
And fans who bought the LP got a package of extra treats for their money. The album's plain brown sleeve was, itself, a nod and nudge to the bootleggers, resembling the packaging of such early underground LP classics as the Bob Dylan Great White Wonder set and the Rolling Stones concert bootleg Liver Than You'll Ever Be, from the latter group's 1969 tour -- and it was a sign of just how far the Who had come in just two years that they could possibly (and correctly) equate interest in their work as being on a par with Dylan and the Stones. But Live at Leeds' jacket was a fold-out sleeve with a pocket that contained a package of memorabilia associated with the band, including a really cool poster, copies of early contracts, etc. It was, along with Tommy, the first truly good job of packaging for this band ever to come from Decca Records; the label even chose to forgo the presence of its rainbow logo, carrying the bootleg pose to the plain label and handwritten song titles, and the note about not correcting the clicks and pops. At the time, you just bought this as a fan, but looking back 30 or 40 years on, those now seem to be quietly heady days for the band (and for fans who had supported them for years), finally seeing the music world and millions of listeners catch up.

If there was any doubt that the Who were one of the most ferocious live acts on the planet at the start of the ‘70s, Live at Leeds quashed it. They released the album on May 16, 1970.

The concert came about as somewhat of an afterthought. They had finally achieved mainstream success with Tommy the previous year and had hoped to compile a live album made from the many dates they recorded. But Pete Townshend decided he didn’t want to go through the hassle of determining which versions were the best and had his sound man Bob Pridden burn the tapes.

Instead, the Who booked two shows, one at the University of Leeds for Feb. 14 and a second in Hull the next day, and would choose the songs from there. Unfortunately, there were technical problems with the Hull recording — John Entwistle’s bass was inaudible on the first six songs — and they were forced to use just the one concert.

Thankfully, the tapes caught the Who at their absolute best. The original release clocked in at just under 38 minutes and featured only seven songs. Perhaps as an indication of how tired the band was by this point with their new opus, material from Tommy was conspicuous by its absence, even though it was performed in its entirety during the show. In its place was a depiction of the Who’s versatility. They could slam home “Substitute” in a little over two minutes or go into a deep blues exploration on “My Generation” for nearly 15 minutes. Their cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” cracked the Top 30 in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Subsequent reissues of Live at Leeds, however, have only added to its legend, allowing listeners to hear the entire concert — which included not just the Tommy portion, but a thunderous “Heaven and Hell,” a cover of Benny Spellman’s Allen Toussaint-penned “Fortune Teller” and the somewhat obscure “Tattoo.” The 2010 40th anniversary box set saw the Hull night finally released, with Entwistle’s bass from the Leeds show overdubbed on the songs where it had not been recorded.

Track listing

1.     "Heaven and Hell" (John Entwistle)     4:49
2.     "I Can't Explain" (Townshend)     2:58
3.     "Fortune Teller" (Naomi Neville)     2:34
4.     "Tattoo" (Townshend)     3:42
5.     "Young Man Blues"       5:51
6.     "Substitute"       2:07
7.     "Happy Jack" (Townshend)     2:13
8.     "I'm a Boy" (Townshend)     4:41
9.     "A Quick One, While He's Away" (Townshend)     8:41
10.     "Amazing Journey/Sparks" (Townshend)     7:54
11.     "Summertime Blues"       3:22
12.     "Shakin' All Over"       4:34
13.     "My Generation"       15:46
14.     "Magic Bus"       7:48

Personnel:

- Roger Daltrey / lead vocals, harmonica, tambourine
- Pete Townshend / guitar, vocals
- John Entwistle / bass guitar, vocals
- Keith Moon / drums, vocals

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jack Dejohnette - 1974 [1994] "Sorcery"

Sorcery is an album by Jack DeJohnette featuring Bennie Maupin, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, Dave Holland and Michael Fellerman recorded in 1974 and released on the Prestige label.

A lot of rambling takes place on this interesting but erratic LP. Drummer Jack DeJohnette (doubling on keyboards) performs three songs with a group featuring bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin and the guitars of John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick; the music shows the influence of fusion (most obviously on "The Rock Thing") and has its strong moments (much of the nearly 14-minute "Sorcery #1"). But the attempt at humor on "The Right Time" is self-indulgent. The second half of this release, with trios by DeJohnette, bassist Dave Holland, and Michael Fellerman on metaphone (whatever that is).

This CD is awesome. It's creative, soulful, got a funk-edged blues jazz and is from 1974 (need I say more?). John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick on guitars, Dave Holland on bass. DeJohnette's got a lot going on here. His horn work in Sorcery #1 (13:51) is fantastic, but while I enjoy all the solos here, what really impresses me is the rhythms and progressions they vamp over. They're very smooth, near progressive rock pieces. Track 4, The Reverend King Suite is a 6-part suite (though at only 14:19) with such colorful titles as A) Reverend King B) Obstructions C) The Fatal Shot D) Mourning E) Unrest F) New Spirits On The Horizon. If I didn't know any better I'd say these looked more like tracks off a Wishbone Ash album. 1974 is vintage stuff whether rock or jazz and this album is no exception. I think people who enjoy long jam 70s concept rock would like this as well fans of cross-over jazz such Miles' Bitches Brew. Not that the jams here are long (the whole album is only 41 minutes) - it's just that tunes are internally diverse, often hanging or alternating somewhere between a soul-jazz and loose rock feel. With only the occasional foray into cacaphony. If this album could just get 24-bit remastered, well, that would just be the cherry.

Quite possibly the most tripped-out of all albums by Jack DeJohnette – one that really shows his roots in many streams of the free, soul, and fusion jazz scenes of the time – and which is served up with a heck of a lot of surprises in the mix! Jack himself plays both drums and keyboards on the set – plus a bit of c-melody sax – and other players include Benny Maupin on clarinet, Dave Holland on bass, John Abercrombie on guitar, and Michael Fellerman on the metaphone 1 – a great instrument that really makes the sound of the record special. The keyboards are especially nice on the set, and electrify the proceedings in a way that seems to spark even more fire in DeJohnette's drums – especially on the classic break track "Epilog" – an excellent funky number that's almost worth the price of the set! Other tracks include "Sorcery #1", "The Rock Thing", "Reverend King Suite", "Four Levels Of Joy", and "The Right Time" – which is a wild vocals-only number!

"Sorcery" isn't a Fusion album but an album of Electric Bop. And for this motive "Sorcery" is an album of Fusion. Unreservedly Jack DeJohnette able to record an album very technical and easy to read. This is because Jack has a great musical sensibility and, in a period where everyone was trying to play hard, he tries to communicate what the music can be emotion and melody. With these ingredients "Sorcery" becomes an album of POP Fusion but not an album of POP Jazz, because 100% Bop. (P.s.: I do not have other words to describe this concept... Excuse me).

The experience of "Sorcery" is a sort of trip to the dreams and shadows of an human mind and for this fact I think that "Sorcery" is a good album if magic, inventive and feelings are what we seek in music.

Track listing

    All compositions by Jack DeJohnette except as indicated

    "Sorcery, No. 1" - 13:50
    "The Right Time" - 2:21
    "The Rock Thing" - 4:14
    "The Reverend King Suite: Reverend King/Obstructions/The Fatal Shot/Mourning/Unrest/New Spirits on the Horizon" (John Coltrane/DeJohnette) - 14:19
    "Four Levels of Joy" - 3:09
    "Epilog" (DeJohnette, Dave Holland) - 3:11

        Recorded at Willow, NY in March 1974 and at Bearsville Studios, NY in May 1974

Personnel

    Jack DeJohnette: drums, keyboards, C-melody saxophone
    Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet
    John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick: guitars
    Dave Holland: bass
    Michael Fellerman: metaphone, trombone

Friday, January 20, 2017

Alain Caron - 1995 "Rhythm'n Jazz"

This set by bassist Alain Caron puts the emphasis on his bass solos and electronics, although he utilizes a full jazz combo. All of the music consists of Caron originals except for a tribute to Jaco Pastorius on "Donna Lee," and the colorful titles include "The Bump," "Slam the Clown," and "Flight of the Bebop Bee." However, the titles are often more memorable than the music, which -- although well played -- would have benefited from the inclusion of a few standards or better originals. Alain Caron is an impressive virtuoso, so hopefully a lot more will be heard from him in the future.

Alain Caron IMO is the best bassist composer playing this type of music. This is a great CD with wonderful tunes that are technically jaw dropping but not self indulgent. 

Alain Caron is an amazing bassist, with a great sound and frightening techincal abilities. I'll recommend bassists to find a video of his concerts, you'll learn a lot about the techinques of bass, soloing, slapping and using a 6 string bass. However, this CD is a great buy as well, because as a bassist, a CD with an amazing bassist, especially when he is the leader of his band.

It'\s a constant companion along life's highways. Quite literally, as the CD lives in my car stereo, ready to be punched into action, cranked up and for some serious grooving and moving to take place. The musicianship, production values and creativity are all maxed despite the slightly cheesy title. Make this one your next purchase, and never mind the french/english credits. Open your mind to this man's dancing fingers.

Eighteen months after his first solo album was released, Alain Caron returns with this recording, entitled « RHYTHM'N JAZZ ».

Featuring nine new songs and a Charlie Parker standard, « RHYTHM'N JAZZ » shows tremendous composing skills and a bold musical direction. Introducing the saxophone and percussion to his band, Alain has gone back to his first love and focused on rhythm'n blues and be-bop colors.

Recorded and mixed mainly at the Victor Studio in Montréal, « RHYTHM'N JAZZ » features the work of some of today's best musicians. It includes Dennis Chambers, considered by many the best drummer in the world. Dennis has played with David Sandborn, the Brecker Brothers, John Scofield, John McLaughlin and Steely Dan. Also appearing Quebecers Magella Cormier (drums), Guy Dubuc (keyboards), Francois D'Amours (saxophone), Jerry De Villiers and Benoit Charrest (guitars), Luc Boivin (percussions), James Gelfand (acoustic piano), and Benoit Glazer (trumpet).

Tracks Listing

01. The Bump (5:38)
02. Fat Cat (7:22)
03. District 6 (5:10)
04. Slam the Clown (7:41)
05. Little Miss Match (7:37)
06. I.C.U. (6:47)
07. Cherokee Drive (8:29)
08. Flight of the Bebop Bee (7:04)
09. Donna Lee (4:15)
10. Intuitions (6:10)

Total Time: 66:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Alain caron / bass, keyboards
- Dennis Chambers / drums
- Magella Cormier / drum programs
- Jerry De Villiers / guitar
- Benoit Charest / guitar, trumpet
- Guy Dubuc / keyboards
- El Exstasis, Jean-Francois Cote, Luc Boivin, Mirielle Marchal / percussion
- James Gelfand / piano