Sunday, January 12, 2020

Various Artists - 1994 "Burning For Buddy" A Tribute To The Music Of Buddy Rich

In 1994, Neil Peart produced this Buddy Rich tribute album featuring tracks from various prominent drummers, all accompanied by the Buddy Rich Big Band.  The compilation of course also features Neil Peart on drums, adding his part to Cotton Tail.

Burning for Buddy, Volume 1 is a 1994 Buddy Rich tribute album produced by Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart. The album is composed of performances by various rock and jazz drummers, all accompanied by the Buddy Rich Big Band. A follow-up Burning for Buddy...Volume 2 recording was released in 1997 and both recording sessions were also covered in a 5-hour documentary DVD video released in 2006, The Making of Burning for Buddy.

Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich, Vol. 1 assembles a shifting cast of virtuoso trap-set players sitting in with the Buddy Rich and His Big Band in order to pay tribute to its legendary founder. Some of the musicians come from rock & roll, often with experience in prog rock or rock/jazz fusion (i.e., the Cult/Guns N' Roses' Matt Sorum, Winger/Dixie Dregs' Rod Morgenstein, Rush's Neil Peart, Yes/King Crimson's Bill Bruford). Others made their mark primarily in the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dave Weckl, Billy Cobham, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith, among others. There are also some drummers who are primarily known for their versatile session work, able to play both rock and jazz; while these players' work is almost always competent, they rarely display much individuality. So overall, Burning for Buddy has more of a modern flavor than one might expect.

This is beautiful tribute to a master musician. The material draws from various times in Buddy's career and is produced with great care by Neil Peart. Some may argue that other drummers active at the time of the recording should have been included. For me, I think Tony Williams would have been a great idea inclusion. Regardless, if you are a drummer, a musician, a lover of great American music, this album smokes. The performances are fantastic and live.

The performances are outstanding, and it's very interesting to hear how rock drummers like Neal Peart and, to some degree, Bill Bruford, handle the complex time signatures and rolls from big band jazz. They do quite well! The biggest surprise had to be Matt Sorum, of Guns and Roses fame. He proves that rock pays his bills, but that jazz/fusion is in his blood!!!

Neil Peart:
I really wanted to carefully present the record to a modern audience. Accessibility was always in the forefront of my mind, knowing that many listeners are unfamiliar with the feel of swing.

I always recall the way reggae was first heard in popular music: people were so funny because they didn't know how to dance to it until they got used to the knee action. Swing is like that for some - if you don't know how to react physically it can leave you sort of cold. So the sequencing was crucial. I carefully added hints of swing with each track, and waited until "Cotton Tail" to fully introduce it.

I was like most people of my generation with Buddy. I saw him do "Dancing Men" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" on the Carson show and they stuck in my mind. They're so dynamic, they'll nail you immediately. People around the project who weren't familiar with jazz responded to them right away during the sessions. It's a matter of presentation. I'm determined to take it beyond the regular audience of Buddy fans.

Honestly, I think this project would have been a lot harder to get done if I didn't have a track record with the company already. [Atlantic Records co-founder] Ahmet Ertegun came down to the studio; he was very interested in it, and in a sense he first planted the seed for this. When Rush signed with Atlantic about six years ago, he came up after a show and pointed his finger in my chest, saying, "I've got to get you playing some jazz." So he predicted it.

This kind of project can be enormously intimidating for drummers, especially if you're unused to the feel of the music. Some stayed in the funk or rock-oriented tracks. But two of the purer rock drummers, Kenny Aronoff and myself, both dove into the most trad-swing stuff we could, because we wanted to make as far a leap as possible. That carries its risks, of course. There are elements of big-band drumming that I just didn't know and you can't necessarily learn them by dissecting the pieces.

There was a great deal of teamwork and unity. The horn players were startled to be asked their opinion! After a take, I'd ask the guys, "How was it for you?" I can't dissect the playing of 15 different musicians as they're wailing. I sat and listened to the horns a lot, even tried ignoring the drummers a bit by sitting in a place where I couldn't see them. I had to forego those free drum lessons.

All the drummers in my generation started from two sources: Either they saw The Gene Krupa Story, which was my route, or they saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and wanted to be Ringo. You can listen to most drummers and figure out immediately which is which. There's a major difference.

Track listing / Performers

01    "Dancing Men" – 6:37 Drums performed by Simon Phillips
02    "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" – 5:09 Drums performed by Dave Weckl
03    "Love for Sale" – 4:30 Drums performed by Steve Gadd
04    "Beulah Witch" – 4:28 Drums performed by Matt Sorum
05    "Nutville" – 5:09 Drums performed by Steve Smith
06    "Cotton Tail" – 4:36 Drums performed by Neil Peart
07    "No Jive" – 5:46 Drums performed by Manu Katche and Mino Cinelu
08    "Milestones" – 5:03 (composed by Miles Davis, arr. Herbie Phillips) Drums performed by Billy Cobham
09    "The Drum Also Waltzes, Pt. 1" – 1:04 Drums performed by Max Roach
10    "Machine" – 3:46 Drums performed by Rod Morgenstein
11    "Straight, No Chaser" – 3:39 Drums performed by Kenny Aronoff
12    "Slow Funk" – 5:33 Drums performed by Omar Hakim
13    "Shawnee" – 3:06 Drums performed by Ed Shaughnessy
14    "Drumorello" – 3:11 Drums performed by Joe Morello
15    "The Drum Also Waltzes, Pt. 2" – :44 Drums performed by Max Roach
16    "Lingo" – 4:31 Drums performed by Bill Bruford
17    "Ya Gotta Try" – 3:18 Drums performed by Marvin "Smitty" Smith
18    "Pick Up the Pieces" – 5:38 Drums performed by Steve Ferrone

Band personnel:

    Bass – Chuck Bergeron
    Guitar – Bill Beaudoin, Chuck Loeb, John Hart
    Piano – Jon Werking
    Saxophone – Andy Fusco, Dave D'Angelo, Jack Stuckey, Steve Marcus, Walt Weiskopf
    Saxophone [Tenor], Flute – Gary Keller
    Trombone – George Gesslein, John Mosca, Rick Trager
    Trumpet – Craig Johnson (2), Dan Collette*, Dave Stahl, Greg Gisbert, Joe Magnarelli, Mike Ponella, Bob Milikan*, Ross Konikoff, Scott Wendholt, Tony Kadleck

Saturday, January 11, 2020

RUSH - 2017 "Live on Air - Legendary Radio Broadcast" [4 CD]

Track listing:

 CD 1
01 Finding My Way
02 The Best I Can
03 What Your Doing
04 Anthem
05 Beneath, Between and Behind
06 In The End
07 Fly By Night
08 Working Man
09 In The Mood
10 Need Some Love
11 Bad Boy

CD 2
01 Opening
02 Anthem
03 Passage To Bangkok
04 By-Tor and the Snow Dog
05 Xanadu
06 Something For Nothing
07 The Trees
08 Cygnus X-1
09 Cygnus X-1 Book II - Hemispheres
10 Closer To The Heart

CD 3
01 Circumstances
02 A Farewell To Kings
03 La Villa Strangiato
04 2112
05 Working Man
06 Bastille Day
07 In The Mood
08 Drum Solo

CD 4
01 2112- Overture
02 The Temples Of Syrinx
03 Discovery
04 Presentation
05 Soliloquy
06 Grand Finale
07 By-Tor And The Snow Dog
08 Xanadu
09 The Spirit Of Radio
10 Natural Science
11 Beneath, Between, Behind
12 Working Man
13 Finding My Way Intro
14 Anthem
15 Bastille Day
16 In The Mood
17 Drum Solo
18 La Villa Strangiato


Alex Lifeson - Guitar
Geddy Lee - Bass
Neil Peart - Drums

Friday, January 10, 2020

RUSH - 1986 1994 "Come To A Standstill" [2 CD]

Track listing:

 CD 1
01 - Dreamline
02 - The Spirit Of Radio
03 - The Analog Kid
04 - Cold Fire
05 - Time Stand Still
06 - Nobody's Hero
07 - Roll The Bones
08 - Animate
09 - Stick It Out
10 - Double Agent
11 - Limelight
12 - Mystic Rhythms
13 - Closer to the Heart

CD 2
01 - Show Don't Tell
02 - Leave That Thing Alone
03 - The Rhythm Method
04 - The Trees
05 Xanadu
06 - Tom Sawyer
07 - Force Ten
08 - YYZ
09 - Manhattan Project
10 - Middletown Dreams
11 - Red Sector A
12 - Marathon


Alex Lifeson - Guitar
Geddy Lee - Bass
Neil Peart - Drums

RUSH - 1976 "2112 Days"

Track listing:

01 - Bastille Day
02 - Anthem
03 - Lakeside Park
04 - 2112
05 - Fly By Night,In The Mood
06 - Something For Nothing
07 - In The End
08 - By-Tor And The Snowdog
09 - Working Man,Finding My Way
10 - What You Are Doing


Alex Lifeson - Guitar
Geddy Lee - Bass
Neil Peart - Drums

R.I.P. Neil Peart

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

John Abercrombie Marc Johnson Peter Erskine - 1989 [2019] "John Abercrombie Marc Johnson Peter Erskine"

John Abercrombie / Marc Johnson / Peter Erskine is a live album by jazz guitarist John Abercrombie with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine that was recorded in 1988 in Boston and released by ECM Records in 1989.

An excellent trio outing with Abercrombie, inventive bassist Marc Johnson, and careening drummer Peter Erskine. The trio sometimes unite for piercing interpretations as on "Stella By Starlight," and other times collide and interact on furious rhythm dialogues and extended improvisations.

Recorded live at The Nightstage in Boston a long time ago (1988) it may be that venue no longer exists, or if it does, no longer features great jazz. April 21st 1988 would have been one night to have caught this great trio in full flight. Rather than guitar plus support, this programme is very much a collaborative and shared musical experience, especially concerning the impact Mr Erskine does have on the proceedings - the drums are prominent, though never domineering, from the opening track Furs on Ice, and there is even one track Drum Solo in which Mr Erskine demonstrates his skills especially subtley on the bass drum. Four of the tracks are " standards" or "classics" of American popular song made so by interpretations over the years by many greats, including the late great pianist Mr Bill Evans. Indeed, it is not drawing too long a bow to consider this CD a tribute by Mr Abercombie to Mr Evans - please note that bassist Mr Johnson was a former member of the Bill Evans Trio so such a tribute has a special resonance. Some of the tracks swing - Stella by Starlight - some cook - Samurai Hee Haw has a joyous guitar shout by Mr Abercombie - and some are just sheer beauty - Haunted Heart is wrenchingly so. I did not find the guitar synthesiser intrusive or annoying but musically effective in its context. Having listened to this CD a number of times over a decade, I can recommend it as defying the times. It remains a good listening experience.

Wonderful trio album from three beautiful musicians. Abercrombie is in great form. Mainly, all I want to say about this cd is that it is worth the price simply for the closing rendition of "Haunted Heart". Just hauntingly beautiful improvisation and musical interaction captured during live performance. I have only heard a handful of musicians express such raw emotion in this sense - I feel that this performance ranks among the greatest of such expressions.

Despite some negative opinions expressed toward the synth guitar in use on this album, I find that texturally, compositionally and sonically, the synth guitar is used beautifully throughout (guitar synthesis being a path sadly not followed by Abercrombie as time wore on). "Light Beam" in particular is one of the greatest uses of guitar synth i have ever heard. Breathtaking.

This album is quite simply not given the attention it deserves. If you have heard anything about it, or even just heard the samples on this page, buy it. You will not regret it.

Track listing:

01.    "Furs on Ice"    Johnson    7:28
02.    "Stella by Starlight"    Ned Washington, Victor Young    7:34
03.    "Alice in Wonderland"    Sammy Fain, Bob Hilliard    7:22
04.    "Beautiful Love"    Haven Gillespie, Wayne King, Egbert Alstyne, Victor Young    7:55
05.    "Innerplay"    Abercrombie, Erskine, Johnson    5:35
06.    "Light Beam"    Abercrombie    3:08
07.    "Drum Solo"    Erskine    3:00
08.    "Four on One"    Abercrombie    6:03
09.    "Samurai Hee-Haw"    Johnson    8:22
10.    "Haunted Heart"    Howard Dietz, Arthur Schwartz    5:26
Total length:    61:51


    John Abercrombie – guitar, guitar synthesizer
    Marc Johnson – double bass
    Peter Erskine – drums

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Dimension - 2004 "Loneliness"

Track listing:

01     Ironside     5:22
02     Walking On The Moon     6:05
03     Respectacles     7:02
04     Dancer In The Light     5:27
05     Good-bye My Loneliness     5:19
06     Southside On Oneseventeen     5:30
07     Wonderful Tonight     4:33
08     Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) - "New York City Serenade"     5:10
09     Vanity Story     5:49
10     Historic Medley :- Purple Haze - Chameleon - Electric City     5:49
11     So Far Away     4:45


    Guitar – Takashi Masuzaki
    Keyboards – Akira Onozuka
    Saxophone – Kazuki Katsuta

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Peter Erskine - 1986 "Transition"

Peter Erskine has done loads of work with the uber producer/arranger/composer Vince Mendoza. They've collaborated on some of my favourite jazz CDs - More or less all of Vince's solo stuff, Jimmy Haslip's "ARC" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" so I was wondering how come Vince hadn't worked on any of Peter's albums?

Then I learned about this one browsing a few weeks ago, while trying to see if Vince has anything new out. I ordered it without even listening to the sound samples and this album is a testament to the fact that good music never dates. This album was released NINETEEN years ago and it sounds as fresh as if it came out last month! It features some of my biggest heroes - Pete and Vince themselves (of course), with John Abercrombie, Joe Lovano and Bob Mintzer. Brilliant from beginning to end.

Great CD! I have owned this CD for 12 years. Two things to listen for: The variety of the cuts is amazing. It really keeps you suprised. Second, the intensity of Erskins music grabs you. I am not tired of it after 12 years.

Started listening to this CD again after some years - its still as vital and intriguing as I recall the first time - Definitely stands the test of time - outstanding.

The original album cover is very "scary/hairy" photo array of PE, but a great recording, nevertheless.
It's J. Abercrombie, M. Johnson, K. Werner, J. Lovano, B. Mintzer.

I remember Joe talking about making that date, it went down while i was studying with him. He said Erskine had been hanging at a lot of Paul Motian gigs and had really gotten into the trio with Joe and Bill Frisell. Erskine did some very nice writing on this record (he wrote some real melodies) the material covers a fair amount of ground with lots of different moods, but it still has a unified sound.

Recorded direct-to-2-track digital at Power Station Studios, New York City, on October 16 and 17, 1986.

 Track listing:

01     Osaka Castle     6:47
02     The Rabbit In The Moon     1:19
03     Corazon     5:04
    Suite: Music From Shakespeare's King Richard II
04     Introduction     1:31
05     Music Plays     7:16
06     Sonnet     2:32
07     Transition     8:02
08     End Hymn     2:39
09     Lions And Tigers And Bears     2:58
10     The Hand Speaks Hold     8:04
11     Smart Shoppers     5:03
12     My Foolish Heart     5:14
13     Orson Welles (Intro)     0:52
14     Orson Welles     5:53


    Drums, Electronic Drums, Gong, Synthesizer, Computer, Producer – Peter Erskine
    Acoustic Bass – Marc Johnson (2)   
    French Horn – Peter Gordon (8)
    Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer – John Abercrombie
    Piano, Synthesizer – Kenny Werner
    Synthesizer – Don Grolnick (tracks: 3, 6, 10, 11)
    Tenor Saxophone – Bob Mintzer
    Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Joe Lovano

Miles Davis - 1972 [2000] "On the Corner"

On the Corner is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and July 1972 and released on October 11 of the same year by Columbia Records. The album continued Davis's exploration of jazz fusion, bringing together funk rhythms with the influence of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

Recording sessions for the album featured a changing lineup of musicians including bassist Michael Henderson, guitarist John McLaughlin, and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, with Davis playing the electric organ more prominently than his trumpet. Various takes from the sessions were then spliced together using the tape editing techniques of producer Teo Macero. The album's packaging did not credit any musicians, an attempt to make the instruments less discernible to critics. Its artwork features Corky McCoy's cartoon designs of urban African-American characters.

On the Corner was in part an effort by Davis to reach a younger African American audience who had left jazz for funk and rock and roll. Instead, it became one of his worst-selling albums and was scorned by jazz critics at the time of its release. It would be Davis's last studio album of the 1970s conceived as a complete work; subsequently, he recorded haphazardly and focused instead on live performance before temporarily retiring from music in 1975.

The critical standing of On the Corner has improved dramatically with the passage of time. Many outside the jazz community later called it an innovative musical statement and forerunner to subsequent funk, jazz, post-punk, electronica, and hip hop. In 2007, On the Corner was reissued as part of the 6-disc box set The Complete On the Corner Sessions, joining previous multi-disc Davis reissues.

Following his turn to fusion in the late 1960s and the release of rock- and funk-influenced albums such as Bitches Brew (1970) and Jack Johnson (1971), Miles Davis received substantial criticism from the jazz community. Critics accused him of abandoning his talents and pandering to commercial trends, though his recent albums had been commercially unsuccessful by his standards. Other jazz contemporaries, such as Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor, and Gil Evans defended Davis; the latter stated that "jazz has always used the rhythm of the time, whatever people danced to". In early 1972, Davis began conceiving On the Corner as an attempt to reconnect with the young African-American audience which had largely forsaken jazz for the groove-based music of Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown. In an interview with Melody Maker, Davis stated that

    "I don't care who buys the record so long as they get to the Black people so I will be remembered when I die. I'm not playing for any white people, man. I wanna hear a black guy say 'Yeah, I dig Miles Davis.'"

On the Corner was partly inspired by the musical concepts of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Also cited as an influence by Davis was the work of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, in particular his forays into electronic music and tape manipulation. Davis was first introduced to Stockhausen's work in 1972 by collaborator Paul Buckmaster, and the trumpeter reportedly kept a cassette recording of the 1966–67 Hymnen composition in his Lamborghini sports car. Some concepts from Stockhausen that appealed to Davis included the electronic sound processing found in Hymnen and the 1966 piece Telemusik, and the development of musical structures by expanding and minimizing processes based on preconceived principles—as featured in Plus-Minus and other Stockhausen works from the 1960s and early 1970s. Davis began to apply these ideas to his music by adding and taking away instrumentalists and other aural elements throughout a recording to create a progressively changing soundscape. Speaking about Stockhausen's influence, Davis later wrote in his autobiography:

    I had always written in a circular way and through Stockhausen I could see that I didn't want to ever play again from eight bars to eight bars, because I never end songs: they just keep going on. Through Stockhausen I understood music as a process of elimination and addition.

The work of Buckmaster (who played electric cello on the album and contributed some arrangements) and the "harmolodics" of saxophonist Ornette Coleman would also be an influence on the album. In his biography, Davis later described On the Corner with the formula "Stockhausen plus funk plus Ornette Coleman." Using this conceptual framework, Davis reconciled ideas from contemporary art music composition, jazz performance, and rhythm-based dance music.

Could there be any more confrontational sound in Miles Davis' vast catalog than the distorted guitars and tinny double-timing drums reacting to a two-note bass riff funking it up on the first track from On the Corner? Before the trumpet even enters the story has been broken off in the middle -- deep street music melding with a secret language exchanged by the band and those who can actually hear it as music. Here are killer groove riffs that barely hold on as bleating trumpet and soprano sax lines (courtesy of Dave Liebman on track one) interact with John McLaughlin's distortion-box frenzy. Michael Henderson's bass keeps the basic so basic it hypnotizes; keyboards slowly enter the picture, a pair of them handled by Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, as well as Ivory Williams' synthesizer. Finally, Colin Walcott jumps in with an electric sitar and there are no less than five drummers -- three kits (Al Foster, Billy Hart, and Jack DeJohnette), a tabla player, and Mtume. It's a four-tune suite, On the Corner is, but the separations hardly matter, just the shifts in groove that alter the time/space continuum. After 20 minutes, the set feels over and a form of Miles' strange lyricism returns in "Black Satin." Though a tabla kicks the tune off, there's a recognizable eight-note melody that runs throughout. Carlos Garnett and Bennie Maupin replace Liebman, Dave Creamer replaces McLaughlin, and the groove rides a bit easier -- except for those hand bells shimmering in the background off the beat just enough to make the squares crazy. The respite is short-lived, however. Davis and band move the music way over to the funk side of the street -- though the street funkers thought these cats were too weird with their stranded time signatures and modal fugues that begin and end nowhere and live for the way the riff breaks down into emptiness. "One and One" begins the new tale, so jazz breaks down and gets polished off and resurrected as a far blacker, deeper-than-blue character in the form of "Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X," where guitars and horns careen off Henderson's cracking bass and Foster's skittering hi-hats. It may sound weird even today, but On the Corner is the most street record ever recorded by a jazz musician. And it still kicks.

 Track listing:

1. On The Corner, New York Girl, Thinkin' One Thing And Doin' Another, Vote For Miles 19:59
2. Black Satin     5:20
3. One And One     6:09
4. Helen Butte - Mr. Freedom X    23:18

Personnel - Recording dates:

June 1, 1972
Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Liebman (ss); John McLaughlin (el-g); Chick Corea (el-p); Herbie Hancock (el-p); Harold I. Williams (org, synth); Collin Walcott (el-sitar); Michael Henderson (el-b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Billy Hart (d);
Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla)

June 6, 1972 - July 7, 1972
Miles Davis (tpt); Carlos Garnett (ss on track 2, ts on track 4); Bennie Maupin (bcl on track 2); David Creamer (el-g on tracks 2, 3, 4); Herbie Hancock (el-p, synth); Chick Corea (el-p); Harold I. Williams (org, synth); Collin Walcott (el-sitar on tracks 3, 4); Khalil Balakrishna (el-sitar on track 2); Michael Henderson (el-b); Jack DeJohnette (d); Billy Hart (d); Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla, handclaps)

Larry Coryell - 1998 "Major Jazz Minor Blues"

A jazz-rock pioneer during the late '60s and '70s, Larry Coryell was also a strong performer in a straight-ahead setting, as evidenced by his recordings for Muse during the latter half of the '80s. Major Jazz Minor Blues reissues ten titles from those records, most in a trio setting, and finds him reacting well with sidemen including bassists Stanley Cowell and George Mraz and pianists Kenny Barron and Billy Hart. The disc captures two of his best originals from the era, "Tender Tears" and "No More Booze, Minor Blues," plus Coryell's surprisingly nuanced versions of "'Round Midnight," "My Shining Hour," and "Sophisticated Lady."

From an artist whose career has spanned jazz-rock, electric fusion, and mainstream jazz, this straight-ahead session from 55-year old guitarist Larry Coryell is a welcome chapter. Backed by piano, bass and drums, four of the guitarist's 1980's Muse recordings are revisited to produce this album of re-issued material; the ten tracks come from Toku-Do, Equipoise, Shining Hour, and Comin' Home. Pianists Stanley Cowell, Kenny Barron, and Albert Dailey provide doubled melody lines, bop-derived solo work, and varied accompaniment. Bassists Buster Williams and George Mraz interweave melodies with the guitarist and provide intricate accompaniment. Drummers Beaver Harris, Billy Hart, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith trade, converse, solo, and enhance the session.

Coryell and Williams engage in some interesting guitar-bass interplay on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" and Williams' own "Toku Do." "Sophisticated Lady" is performed as a lovely ballad guitar solo piece, and Thelonious Monk's ballad " `Round Midnight" includes a stirring guitar cadenza at the end. Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," and John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" each include stellar mainstream guitar work and afford the listener an opportunity to appreciate what Coryell does best. Using Johnny Mercer's "My Shining Hour" as a vehicle for upbeat sentiment, the leader highlights the album with his lyrical pick work, fours from Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and an exciting piano solo from Kenny Barron. Coryell has written extensive liner notes for this 65-minute straight-ahead "best of" album, offering his recollections of the four recording sessions and sharing valuable anecdotes for each tune. Recommended.

Track listing:

01     Moment's Notice     6:03
02     The Duke     4:45
03     'Round Midnight     8:43
04     Joy Spring     6:41
05     Yesterdays     5:35
06     No More Booze, Minor Blues     3:32
07     Tender Tears     8:07
08     My Shining Hour     5:00
09     Toku Do     6:57
10     Sophisticated Lady     5:02


    Guitar – Larry Coryell
    Bass – Buster Williams, George Mraz
    Drums – Beaver Harris, Billy Hart, Marvin "Smitty" Smith
    Piano – Albert Dailey, Kenny Barron, Stanley Cowell

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Yuval Ron - 2019 "Somewhere in This Universe, Somebody Hits a Drum" Review

Hello friends and music aficionado's.
I received an email from a friend of mine and GREAT player Mr. Yuval Ron. He has a new CD coming out and I would like to share some links for you.

For starters, check out some of his earlier work so you can see what a killer player he is:

Futuristic Worlds Under Construction (see Bandcamp)
Residence Of The Future (also BC)
Flags - Single / video feat. Tammy Scheffer on

I also did once a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Contusion" if you'd like


 Here's the email with links to his stuff!

 Hi Stan!

Nice chatting with you again :)

So as mentioned I've got some exciting news which I think might interest you. My new album "Somewhere in This Universe, Somebody Hits a Drum" featuring Marco Minnemann on drums has been recently released alongside a music video and guitar transcriptions book. The overall genre is different than what you might remember from my former band Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future. It can be described as "Cinematic Prog" as it combines intricate instrumental compositions, extended soloing and a big, film-like background production of orchestral lines, soundscapes and sound effects. The album got some great feedback from audience and music media so far.

I'd like to take this opportunity and ask if you'd be interested to review this album on Jazz-Rock-Fusion-Guitar?

Here you can find a couple of examples of the music:

On the blog please share the Bandcamp link

You can also embed the Youtube video of course if you'd like:

I hope you'll enjoy the music and look forward to hearing from you.

With musical regards,
Yuval Ron

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Traffic - 1973 [2003] "On The Road"

On The Road is the second live album (two LPs, reissued on one CD) by English rock band Traffic, released in 1973. Recorded live in Germany, it features the Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory lineup plus extra keyboardist (for live performances) Barry Beckett.

The initial U.S. release of On the Road (Island/Capitol) 1973 was as a single LP consisting of: "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" (edited to 15:10), "Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory", "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired", and "Light Up or Leave Me Alone".

The whole album, which was originally a two disc vinyl album, is on one disc. The tracks are long and extended, and given a jazz feel; but never boring. One of the best Traffic albums ever. This was recored live in Germany. If you like traffic, this ones a real winner. It's just as exciting today, as it was the day it was released.

Backed by Muscle Shoals sidemen, Winwood, Capaldi, and Wood rock like never before. Traffic songs that were already great were transformed into extended jazzy jams with interesting interplay between all the players. A funky groove unites all the separate tracks, making this a great driving album or a soundtrack for doing housework. Too bad the sidemen split from Traffic after this, since the album promised potential future development that might have significantly altered the direction of contemporary music. As it is, it's a lesser-known gem in the rock archive that is absolutely necessary for any true music fan of 70's progressive rock.

The 1973 line-up of Traffic was captured on disc with the appropriately-named On The Road, the group’s live album which entered the UK chart on 24 November that year. In America, the initial release was a single-LP set of four extended performances, but at home, it merited a double-disc edition, with six tracks including three from the then-current studio set Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory.

Founder members Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood were joined on the 1973 tour by their Ghanaian percussionist of recent times, Rebop Kwaku Baah, plus collaborators David Hood (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett on organ and piano. They began the year with an extensive North American tour, then a European leg included visits to such cities as Bologna, Vienna and Frankfurt.

The whole of side one of the UK double album was taken up with an epic, 20-minute performance combining ‘Glad’ and ‘Freedom Rider.’  In addition to the title track from Shoot Out…, the set included its fellow LP tracks ‘Tragic Magic,’ composed by Wood, and the Winwood/Capaldi co-write ‘(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired.’ On The Road concluded with ‘Light Up Or Leave Me Alone’ and the title track from the same 1971 album Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys, which itself ran to 17 minutes.

Reportedly released as an effort to undercut bootleggers following a world tour, Traffic: On the Road was the band's second live album in three years. The album chronicled a late edition of the band in which original members Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood were augmented not only by percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah, but also by a trio of session musicians from the famed Muscle Shoals studio, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, and Barry Beckett. The studio pros lent a tightness and proficiency to their characteristic free-form jams, and though they sometimes sounded like they couldn't wait to get the songs over with, the tunes went on and on, four clocking in at over ten minutes. That might have been okay if the choice of material had been more balanced across the band's career, but 1971's Welcome To the Canteen had treated earlier efforts, and the 1973 tour was promoting Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory, from which three of the six selections were drawn. Unfortunately, that album was not one of Traffic's best, and the live versions of its songs were no more impressive than the studio ones had been. Traffic: On the Road featured plenty of room for soloing by some good musicians, but it was the logical extreme of the band's forays into extended performance, with single tunes taking up entire sides on the original LPs. It's not surprising that, after this, Traffic shrunk in size and returned to shorter songs. [Though best known in its two-LP version, Traffic: On the Road was initially released in the U.S. as a single LP containing only four tracks.]

The album reached number 40 in the UK and number 29 in the USA.

Track listing:

1. Glad / Freedom Rider (20:49)
2. Tragic Magic (8:30)
3. (Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired (10:20)
4. Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory (6:40)
5. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (10:30)
6. Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys (17:35)

Total Time: 74:24


    Steve Winwood – guitar, lead vocals (1, 3, 4, 6), piano
    Chris Wood – flute, saxophone
    Jim Capaldi – percussion, lead vocals (5), drums (4)
    Rebop Kwaku Baah – percussion
    Barry Beckett – organ, piano
    David Hood – bass
    Roger Hawkins – drums

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Chick Corea - 1972 [1993] "Sundance"

Sundance is an album recorded by Chick Corea and originally released on the Groove Merchant label in 1972. In 2002, Blue Note Records re-released all tracks from this album, together with all tracks from 1969's Is and alternate takes from both albums as The Complete "Is" Sessions. Sundance features Chick in his prime early period, building with each new track a sound that was instantly recognizable. The lineup is a who’s-who of jazz masters: Jack DeJohnette, Hubert Laws, Woody Shaw, Horace Arnold, Dave Holland and Bennie Maupin. The music is pure Chick: playful and searching, never content with the expected.

Recorded during the same period as Is, Sundance has four very advanced (if forgettable) Chick Corea compositions interpreted by a septet that includes trumpeter Woody Shaw, Hubert Laws on flute, and Bennie Maupin on reeds. Actually, this is a lesser Corea item with plenty of rambling moments (although it is generally not as free as Is) and is recommended mostly to completists of the pianist who are interested in his early development.

This album is what free form jazz is all about, it is music that wanders with purpose meaning that it sounds like it is not really going in a particular direction then it all comes together with perfect timing. Imagine a soundtrack where you keep falling down hill, and every cymbal crash is you hitting a bump, or some other obstacle as you keep tumbling further downward such as the song "Wind song". This is an instrumental record so it is great to read to especially if it is an energetic story such as a thriller, or detective/ private eye story.

Track listing:

    "The Brain" (Chick Corea) – 10:09
    "Song of Wind" (Corea) – 8:05
    "Converge" (Corea) – 7:59
    "Sundance" (Corea) – 10:02


    Chick Corea – piano
    Hubert Laws – flute, piccolo flute
    Bennie Maupin – tenor saxophone
    Woody Shaw – trumpet
    Dave Holland – bass
    Jack De Johnette – drums
    Horace Arnold – drums

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Arlo Guthrie - 1967 "Alice's Restaurant"

Alice's Restaurant", also known as the "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", is a satirical talking blues song by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, released as the title track to his 1967 debut album Alice's Restaurant. The song is a deadpan protest against the Vietnam War draft, in the form of a comically exaggerated but essentially true story from Guthrie's own life: he is arrested and convicted of dumping trash illegally, which later leads to him being rejected by the draft board due to his criminal record of littering (and the way he reacted when the induction personnel brought it up). The title refers to a restaurant owned by one of Guthrie's friends, which plays no role in the story aside from being the subject of the chorus.

Despite its running time of over 18 minutes, it was a hit song, and an inspiration for the 1969 film also named Alice's Restaurant. The work has become Guthrie's signature song and he has periodically re-released it with updated lyrics. In 2017, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant".

The song consists of a protracted spoken monologue, with a constantly repeated fingerstyle ragtime guitar (Piedmont style) backing and light brush-on-snare drum percussion (the drummer on the record is uncredited), bookended by a short chorus about the titular diner. (Guthrie has used the brief "Alice's Restaurant" bookends and guitar backing for other monologues bearing the Alice's Restaurant name.) The track lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds, occupying the entire A-side of the Alice's Restaurant album. Due to Guthrie's rambling and circuitous telling with unimportant details, it has been described as a shaggy dog story. For many people in the United States, listening to this song on Thanksgiving Day is a family tradition.Guthrie refers to the incident as a "massacree", a colloquialism originating in the Ozark Mountains that describes "an event so wildly and improbably and baroquely messed up that the results are almost impossible to believe". It is a corruption of the word massacre, but carries a much lighter and more sarcastic connotation, rather than describing anything involving actual death.

For many people in the United States, listening to this song on Thanksgiving Day is a family tradition.

The littering incident
The incident which Guthrie recounts in the first half of the song was reported in The Berkshire Eagle on November 29, 1965. It describes the conviction of Richard J. Robbins, age 19, and Arlo Guthrie, age 18, for illegally disposing of rubbish, and a fine of $25 each, plus an order to remove the trash. The arresting officer was Stockbridge police chief William J. Obanhein ("Officer Obie"), and the trial was presided over by Special Judge James E. Hannon. It identifies the incriminating evidence as an envelope addressed to a male resident of Great Barrington (presumably Ray Brock) rather than Guthrie. In a 1972 interview with Playboy's Music Scene, Obanhein refuted one detail: he denied handcuffing Guthrie and Robbins. He also said the real reason there was no toilet seat in the jail cell was to prevent such items from being stolen, not as a suicide deterrent as Guthrie had joked.

 Track listing:

1. Alice's Restaurant Massacree     18:20
2. Chilling Of The Evening     3:01
3. Ring-Around-A-Rosy Rag     2:10
4. Now And Then     2:15
5. I'm Going Home     3:12
6. The Motorcycle Song     2:58
7. Highway In The Wind     2:40


Arlo Guthrie – vocals, guitar
The unknown musicians who play the electric guitar, standup bass, and drums

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Charles Mingus - 1963 [1997] "Mingus Plays Piano"

Mingus Plays Piano is a 1963 solo jazz album by Charles Mingus. The album is notable for Mingus's departure from his usual role as composer and double-bassist in ensemble recordings, instead playing piano without any additional musicians.

This album is unique in Mingus' enormous catalog. As the title indicates, the famous bassist takes to the ivories solo to give life to his dazzling improvisational art. At first it seems odd to hear Mingus without one of his trademark interactive and exploratory ensembles. But the sensibility that he brings to this collection of piano pieces bears all the signs of the composer's genius.

In the first piece, "Myself When I Am Real," turbulence and aching beauty merge in Mingus' spontaneous unfolding of phrases. Such standards as "Body and Soul" and "Memories of You" are given personal, harmonically intriguing readings that blend in seamlessly with a Mingus original like "Old Portrait." In many ways, it is a treat to hear the artist working in this pared-down, quieter atmosphere, as it allows one to concentrate more intently upon the range and compositional brilliance of this incomparable figure.

Mingus Plays Piano originally was released on the heels of The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady, a brilliantly orchestrated, album length composition performed by an eleven piece band of frequent Mingus collaborators. The Black Saint was a career highlight, but the year leading up to that success was a tumultuous one. In 1962, Mingus toured heavily, and for his band’s residencies in NYC, he experimented with hiring a bassist and playing piano himself. He agreed to record a live album with a big band iteration of his Jazz Workshop for United Artists. Rushed preparations for this maximalist composition resulted in an incident where he punched his longtime trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the mouth. The 31-piece band’s one night stand at Town Hall was sloppy, and Mingus raged as concertgoers walked out and demanded a refund. After that disastrous performance, Mingus was exhausted, had gained a lot of weight, and suffered from painful ulcers. His wife Judy had just delivered a stillborn baby girl. The couple retreated to the Bay Area where Farwell Taylor, Mingus’ old beatnik-guru friend, straightened him out with a weeklong juice cleanse.

By most accounts, Charles Mingus never dropped acid. But in 1962, he spent time hanging out with Timothy Leary at Millbrook, where the Harvard researcher had made a laboratory of magnate Charles Dieterich’s rococo mansion. Mingus’ pal and heir to the Mellon fortune, Peggy Hitchcock, brought him upstate to escape the bustle of Manhattan and check out Leary’s newfound spiritual drug. Instead, Mingus would stay up late carousing, ranting at tripping jet-setters, and playing the house piano. He certainly indulged in bouts of excess with all sorts of substances–late night Chinese food among them–but acid scared him. Music was religion for Mingus, and in that church he was very spiritual and devoted. His immense lust for music encompassed some impossible eccentricities and violent tempers, but all in service to a method, a history. Leary felt that the endless expanse of the unlocked mind had something in common with the generative potential of improvisation. He’d tell Mingus to “just play” the piano, to which Mingus called bullshit: “You can’t improvise on nothin’, man. You’ve got to improvise on somethin’.”

Although Mingus Plays Piano is mostly original material, he includes riffs on a few standards like “I Can’t Get Started” and “Body and Soul.” He first worked out “Myself When I Am Real” in his wife Judy’s living room, and at the beginning of “Memories of You” Mingus kids around: “I don’t think I should improvise man. It’s not like sittin’ at home, I can tell you that. It’s not like playing at home by yourself.” Far from raw or unprepared, the album bears a significant subtitle: “spontaneous compositions and improvisations.” Mingus had strong opinions about the relationship between composition and improvisation. His first love was classical music–in particular the work of Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky, harmonically inventive composers who ushered in the modern period of orchestral music.

Track listing:

    "Myself When I Am Real" – 7:38
    "I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 3:43
    "Body and Soul" (Frank Eyton, Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour) – 4:35
    "Roland Kirk's Message" – 2:43
    "Memories of You" (Eubie Blake, Andy Razaf) – 4:37
    "She's Just Miss Popular Hybrid" - 3:11
    "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blue" – 4:18
    "Meditations for Moses" - 3:38
    "Old Portrait" - 3:49
    "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" (George Bassman, Ned Washington) – 3:46
    Compositional Theme Story: "Medleys, Anthems and Folklore" – 8:35


    Charles Mingus - piano, vocals

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - 1967 [1999] "Safe as Milk"

Safe as Milk is the debut studio album by American rock group Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, released in June 1967 by Buddah Records. A heavily blues-influenced work, the album featured a 20-year-old Ry Cooder, who played guitar and wrote some of the arrangements.

Beefheart's first proper studio album is a much more accessible, pop-inflected brand of blues-rock than the efforts that followed in the late '60s -- which isn't to say that it's exactly normal and straightforward. Featuring Ry Cooder on guitar, this is blues-rock gone slightly askew, with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals from Van Vliet, and more doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk-rock influences than he would employ on his more avant-garde outings. "Zig Zag Wanderer," "Call on Me," and "Yellow Brick Road" are some of his most enduring and riff-driven songs, although there's plenty of weirdness on tracks like "Electricity" and "Abba Zaba." [Buddha's 1999 reissue of Safe as Milk contained restored artwork and seven bonus tracks.]

Underground classic, absolute genius and one of my favourite albums of all time. Crank up the volume. Yes, it's warped and weird but this is easily the most accessible of all of Beefheart's albums. It features a 20 year old Ry Cooder, who is magnificent throughout. There's a real mix on here: "Sure 'Nuff' and Yes I Do" starts off like a straightforward Delta Blues before being amplified and injected with Amphetamine, "Zig Zag Wanderer" has a heavy R&B baseline and the R&B theme continues with what has to be the most "pop" tune he has ever done, "Call on Me". Nothing is mainstream though, there's sharp jangly guitars cutting through the horns gently fading in and out as as the percussion phases from left to right. Then you're hit with the weird, grungy, heavy "Dropout Boogie", the mood totally changes for the sentimental "I'm Glad" with it's Doo-Wop backing harmonies and the side finishes with the weird, high voltage, up tempo "Electricity" which utilises the Theremin to great effect. Side Two starts with the folky- rock "Yellow Brick Road" followed by " the pure psychedelia of "Abba Zabba" - Ry Cooder takes the bass here to great effect. Next comes "Plastic Factory" which sounds like Howlin' Wolf on Acid. "Where There's Women" is a touching tune with beautiful lyrics. "Grown So Ugly" is the only cover on the album and like the opening track is like heavy, psychedelic, Delta Blues. The album closes with the trippy, beautiful "Autumns Child" which again utilises the Thremin. Everyone should know this album.

"I may be hungry, but I sure ain't weird," Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, famously intones on this bright-sounding remastered version of the 1967 debut by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. Safe as Milk is a bold, tough-ass distillation of Delta blues stomp and '60s garage-punk swagger, fused with a radically polyrhythmic and tempo-shifting style that one might term "art rock." Listening to the delightfully playful, absurdist "Abba Zabba," it's easy to see why Lester Bangs called Beefheart "the only true dadaist in rock"; the song is a good indication of the intricate, rule-breaking music the Magic Band would continue to hone. But there are also formidable ballads (the psychedelic "Autumn's Child," the lachrymose "I'm Glad"), midtempo pop-soul tunes (the Otis Redding-ish "Call on Me"), and straight-ahead blues-rock workouts ("Plastic Factory"), all of which showcase the fretwork of a young Ry Cooder. Much has been made of Beefheart's multiple-octave vocal range; he sings menacingly on "Dropout Boogie" and allegedly broke a very expensive microphone on the eerie "Electricity." The last seven tracks on this reissue (for the most part fascinating, unfinished instrumentals) were recorded with a different lineup; they are outtakes from Mirror Man Sessions.

Track listing:

01.    "Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do"    2:15
02.    "Zig Zag Wanderer"    2:40
03.    "Call on Me[22]" (Van Vliet)    2:37
04.    "Dropout Boogie"    2:32
05.    "I'm Glad" (Van Vliet)    3:31
06.    "Electricity"    3:07
07.    "Yellow Brick Road"    2:28
08.    "Abba Zaba" (Van Vliet)    2:44
09.    "Plastic Factory" (Van Vliet, Bermann, Jerry Handley)    3:08
10.    "Where There's Woman"    2:09
11.    "Grown So Ugly" (Robert Pete Williams)    2:27
12.    "Autumn's Child"    4:02
CD bonus tracks
13.    "Safe as Milk (Take 5)"    4:13
14.    "On Tomorrow"    6:56
15.    "Big Black Baby Shoes"    4:50
16.    "Flower Pot"    3:55
17.    "Dirty Blue Gene"    2:43
18.    "Trust Us (Take 9)"    7:22
19.    "Korn Ring Finger"    7:26


    Don Van Vliet – lead vocals, harmonica, marimba, arrangements
    Alex St. Clair Snouffer – guitar, backing vocals, bass, percussion
    Ry Cooder – guitar, bass, slide guitar, percussion, arrangements
    Jerry Handley – bass (except 8, 10), backing vocals
    John French – drums, backing vocals, percussion

Additional musicians

    Samuel Hoffman – theremin (6, 12)
    Milt Holland – log drum, tambourine, percussion
    Taj Mahal – tambourine, percussion
    Russ Titelman – guitar

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Steve Khan - 1991 "Let's Call This"

After the release in '90 of "PUBLIC ACCESS"(GRP), it seemed like there just wasn't enough live work for the quartet, Eyewitness. So, I decided to try working in a trio format with acoustic bass and drums. After some months of work, I went in one afternoon and recorded a quick 8-10 tune 'demo' in about three hours with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Joel Rosenblatt, probably my favorite rhythm section.

Steve Khan, Al Foster, Ron CarterWhen Polydor K.K.(Japan) heard tapes of the trio, they wanted to record the music, but, they insisted that I use more well-known players. These are often times things one cannot argue about! So, I decided to call upon two old and dear friends, Ron Carter & Al Foster. "LET'S CALL THIS" was recorded in '91, and the tunes are essentially all drawn from music I used to listen to and study while attending U.C.L.A. during the mid-'60s.

If you were to go back and investigate the original versions of these tunes by Monk, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Larry Young, and Freddie Hubbard, you'd quickly hear just what I was into then. This CD begins a period of paying tribute to those years, those recordings, and those composers. "LET'S CALL THIS" was released in the USA on Bluemoon Records, and it is an especially beautiful recording by engineer Malcolm Pollack.

It features the incredible sound of Al Foster's Paiste sizzle flat-ride cymbal. Truly a key element for me, as it makes the music float and creates a sonic environment that is wonderful for a guitar trio. Believe it or not, THAT cymbal gives the music an orchestral feeling, and it's one of my favorite things about working with Al.

The CD was recorded as the Gulf War with Iraq commenced, and it was a pretty solemn time. When such things happen, they are impossible to ignore and, as global citizens, it's hard not to envision that such a chain of events could actually lead to World War III. Looking back, I sometimes feel that the grave nature of those days led to tempos which were considerably slower than where we had rehearsed the tunes, or where they had been when performed live. It only shows that, at times, it's impossible to block-out what's going on around you.
Best-known for his fusion recordings, Steve Khan (ten years after recording the purely acoustic solo date Evidence) stretches out on this pure jazz date. Accompanied by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, Khan explores a variety of superior jazz standards (including songs by Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Larry Young, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan) along with his own "Buddy System." This is one of Steve Khan's finest recordings to date and is highly recommended to those listeners not familiar with this side of his musical personality.

Fresh off his monumental work on Steely Dan's Gaucho, Steve went into the studio and cut these fabulous tracks. The three-piece really works, and Ron Carter on bass is exceptional. But it's Khan that really shines -- his creative guitar interpretation of Monk's original angular piano sound makes for heavenly listening, awash with texture, color, and personality. Highly recommended.

Off on a trip to L.A. to spend a week in a hotel, I grabbed this CD and a few others to pass some time. We listened to this one most of the way from San Francisco to L.A. I meant to put something else on, but just couldn't bring myself to take this out of the player. The tune selection is great, the players are all playing their butts off, and that's saying a lot. These guys can really play. Khan is one of my favorite guitarists. He sounds to me what Metheny might be like if he played strictly straight ahead jazz. That's a foolish thing to say, Metheny being my guitar idol and all, but I don't know how else to describe it. This CD is a revelation. The band's sense of rhythm is dead on. You might want to pick this one up.

This in my opinion Steve's Khan best release along with Ron Carter's Bass playing makes me listen to this CD from begining to end.

 Track Listing:

  1. Let's Call This (Thelonious Monk)(7:01)
  2. Masqualero (Wayne Shorter)(6:03)
  3. Backup (Larry Young)(6:27)
  4. Out Of This World (Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer)(7:04)
  5. Played Twice (Thelonious Monk)(6:05)
  6. Little Sunflower (Freddie Hubbard)(8:11)
  7. Buddy System (Steve Khan)(5:05)
  8. Street Of Dreams (Victor Young)(7:47)
  9. Mr. Kenyatta (Lee Morgan)(7:50)


 Guitar, Producer – Steve Khan
 Double Bass [Acoustic Bass] – Ron Carter
 Drums – Al Foster

Monday, October 21, 2019

Herbie Hancock - 1964 [1999] "Empyrean Isles"

Empyrean Isles is the fourth album by American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, recorded in 1964 for Blue Note Records. The album was recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on June 17, 1964. Pianist Hancock's quartet consisted of Freddie Hubbard on cornet, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. The four compositions were written by Hancock.

My Point of View and Inventions and Dimensions found Herbie Hancock exploring the fringes of hard bop, working with a big band and a Latin-flavored percussion section, respectively. On Empyrean Isles, he returns to hard bop, but the results are anything but conventional. Working with cornetist Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams -- a trio just as young and adventurous as he was -- Hancock pushes at the borders of hard bop, finding a brilliantly evocative balance between traditional bop, soul-injected grooves, and experimental, post-modal jazz. Hancock's four original concepts are loosely based on the myths of the Empyrean Isles, and they are designed to push the limits of the band and of hard bop. Even "Cantaloupe Island," well-known for its funky piano riff, takes chances and doesn't just ride the groove. "The Egg," with its minimal melody and extended solo improvisations, is the riskiest number on the record, but it works because each musician spins inventive, challenging solos that defy convention. In comparison, "One Finger Snap" and "Oliloqui Valley" adhere to hard bop conventions, but each song finds the quartet vigorously searching for new sonic territory with convincing fire. That passion informs all of Empyrean Isles, a record that officially established Hancock as a major artist in his own right.

Even if you've never listened to "Empyrean Isles" before, you already know the track "Cantaloupe Island" off of this album, which together with its follow-up "Maiden Voyage", comprises the pinnacle of Hancock's acoustic 60s output. Listening to this set, it's almost hard to comprehend that it was recorded over fifty years ago, as it is still regularly being sampled and used in films, tv shows and commercials to this day, which is a testament to just how forward thinking this album was, and how fresh and contemporary it still sounds even today. An absolutely essential, core selection for every jazz fan's collection.

One of the great albums from the golden age of modern jazz and one of the key predecessors of post bop jazz. Empyrean Isles stuns in every way with it's variety covering hard bop (One Finger Snap), modal (Oliloqui Valley), soul (Cantaloupe Island), and free (The Egg) jazz. This is edge of your seat type stuff. Throughout the album, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams stun us with astonishing inventive playing such as the shifting repetitive piano riffs of Hancock on The Egg, which are coupled by Tony Williams perfectly in sync playing, these only make up a part of The Egg which has an almost suite like structure where Hancock and Carter completely go off on their own, but not in a discordant fashion before returning to repetitive, syncopated theme with Williams. While Cantaloupe Island has Hancock repeating a single piano riff while everyone else improvises around him in true soul jazz fashion. One of Hancock's finest Blue Note era contributions, Empyrean Isles is essential.

The 60s was an exciting, inventive period in American Jazz music. And, when one looks at the line-up on this album you realize the musical strength necessary to hold up the visionary leanings of Hancock. A powerhouse of organic Jazz by the fables of the genre. 'Empyrean Isles' is a beautiful instance of the emergence of modal jazz. Those in the know will always tell you, this release is essential. Foundational. And pairs magically with 'Maiden Voyage.'

Original Album Liner Notes:
This is a quartet album for trumpet and rhythm section. In this circumstance, a problem was created for the composer-arranger, in that the lack of another instrument supporting the lower, richer register, such as a tenor saxophone, might result in a shallow sound.

With this problem in mind, Herbie Hancock, who composed and arranged all the tunes, wrote them to sound more like improvisations than ensemble melodies, so that the warmth and fullness of a supporting instrument would not be missed. Free sketches were written in such a way that each instrument is allowed great flexibility of interpretation. In many cases, no melodic line was laid out over the chords nor atonal clusters written, so that the trumpeter could supply any melody he wished.

“The Egg,” the most exemplary composition in the album, has only a short trumpet melody written out over a repeating figure in the rhythm section. This sets the mood and builds up tension; after that, the musicians’ ears do the rest!

Track listing:

1.    "One Finger Snap"    7:20
2.    "Oliloqui Valley"    8:28
3.    "Cantaloupe Island"    5:32
4.    "The Egg"    14:00
Bonus tracks on 1999 CD release
5.    "One Finger Snap" (alternate take)    7:37
6.    "Oliloqui Valley" (alternate take)    10:47


    Herbie Hancock – piano
    Freddie Hubbard – cornet
    Ron Carter – bass
    Tony Williams – drums

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

John Coltrane - 1963 [2000] "Live At The Half Note"

Despite the inaccurate information given on this three-LP box set (which states that all of the music was recorded at the Half Note in 1963; none of it actually was), these rare performances are quite fascinating. "I Want to Talk About You" and "One Up, One Down" actually originated from Birdland on Feb. 23, 1963 and, although the other performances are from Half Note, they date from May 7 ("Brazilia," "Song of Praise" and "My Favorite Things") of 1965. Coltrane is in particularly fiery form on the later tracks and with four of the eight selections being over 19 minutes long, there is plenty of room for him to stretch out. It's recommended despite the erratic packaging but sure to be hard-to-find.

John Coltrane's "Live At The Half Note" on the Laserlight label is an excellent look at what is arguably jazz's greatest quartet - the "Classic Quartet" of Trane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones - in an intimate club setting. It is during performances like these, where Coltrane had the ability to stretch out and play at length, improvising and creating on the spur of the moment, that he further developed his signature, searching style. According to the liner notes, these four tunes - "I Want To Talk About You," "Brazilia," "Song Of Praise" and "One Up, One Down" - were recorded in 1963 at the Half Note. However, someone is lying! The reason I say this is I also have a live Coltrane CD called "Live At Birdland And The Half Note," and three of these exact same recordings are featured on that disc (only "Brazilia" is not). This CD on the Cool & Blue label credits "I Want To Talk About You" and "One Up, One Down" as being from a 2/23/63 date at Birdland, not the Half Note, while "Song Of Praise" was documented at the Half Note, but from 5/7/65, and not 1963 as the Laserlight disc claims. I tend to believe the information on the Cool & Blue disc is correct, not only because the liner notes are more detailed, but because "Song Of Praise" and "Brazilia" are better quality recordings, and clearly not from the same date as "I Want To Talk About You" and "One Up, One Down." Potential historical inaccuracies aside, the Laserlight disc will be a welcome addition to any Coltrane collection. The sound is excellent and the performances are first rate.

Because of the absence of information about dates and personnel as well the uneven quality of the recorded sound, not to mention Coltrane's performance itself, this album cannot be recommended for the uninitiated. Spend a couple of extra bucks and purchase "Live at Birdland" or "A Love Supreme."
But if you're a student of Coltrane, this particular recording of "I Want to Talk about You"--not at all like the version on "Live at Birdland"--offers a fascinating glimpse at Coltrane's creative process. It begins with cracked notes and unsustained tones, as Coltrane quickly yields to an extended solo by the pianist (McCoy? clearly so on the other 3 tracks but not necessarily on this). Then Coltrane reenters the fray, rejuvenated and ready for action. When he restates the melody and gets to the final dominant chord, scene of his virtuosic cadenza on the "Live at Birdland" recording, he submits himself to a greater challenge than on that date. Instead of exploring all of the chord substitutions, extensions, harmonics on the dominant chord alone, he touches base with the entire song--refrain, bridge, closing refrain--in the midst of another unaccompanied cadenza extraordinaire. It's not the unfaltering pyrotechnical display of the "Birdland" date, but in it's own way it's no less impressive and belongs in the collection of any true believer.

 Track listing:

1     I Want To Talk About You     10:23
2     One Up And One Down     14:42
3     My Favorite Things     14:01
4     Body And Soul     9:57
5     Song Of Praise     19:08


    Saxophone – John Coltrane
    Bass – Jimmy Garrison
    Drums – Elvin Jones
    Piano – McCoy Tyner

Monday, October 14, 2019

John Coltrane - 1961 [1987] "My Favorite Things"

My Favorite Things is the seventh studio album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released in 1961 on Atlantic Records, catalogue SD-1361. It was the first album to feature Coltrane playing soprano saxophone. An edited version of the title track became a hit single that gained popularity in 1961 on radio. The record became a major commercial success. In 1998, the album received the Grammy Hall of Fame award. It attained gold record status in 2018, having sold 500,000 copies.

In March 1960, while on tour in Europe, Miles Davis purchased a soprano saxophone for Coltrane. With the exception of Steve Lacy's late 1950s work with the pianist Cecil Taylor, the instrument had become little used in jazz at that time. Intrigued by its capabilities, Coltrane began playing it at his summer club dates.

After leaving the Davis band, Coltrane, for his first regular bookings at New York's Jazz Gallery in the summer of 1960, assembled the first version of the John Coltrane Quartet. The line-up settled by autumn with McCoy Tyner on piano, Steve Davis on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Sessions the week before Halloween at Atlantic Studios yielded the track "Village Blues" for Coltrane Jazz and the entirety of this album along with the tracks that Atlantic would later assemble into Coltrane Plays the Blues and Coltrane's Sound.

The famous track is a modal rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. The melody is heard numerous times throughout, but instead of playing solos over the written chord changes, both Tyner and Coltrane take extended solos over vamps of the two tonic chords, E minor and E major, played in waltz time. In the documentary The World According to John Coltrane, narrator Ed Wheeler remarks on the impact that this song's popularity had on Coltrane's career:

    In 1960, Coltrane left Miles [Davis] and formed his own quartet to further explore modal playing, freer directions, and a growing Indian influence. They transformed "My Favorite Things", the cheerful populist song from 'The Sound of Music,' into a hypnotic eastern dervish dance. The recording was a hit and became Coltrane's most requested tune—and a bridge to broad public acceptance.

Although seemingly impossible to comprehend, this landmark jazz date made in 1960 was recorded in less than three days. All the more remarkable is that the same sessions which yielded My Favorite Things would also inform a majority of the albums Coltrane Plays the Blues, Coltrane's Sound, and Coltrane Legacy. It is easy to understand the appeal that these sides continue to hold. The unforced, practically casual soloing styles of the assembled quartet -- which includes Coltrane (soprano/tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums) -- allow for tastefully executed passages à la the Miles Davis Quintet, a trait Coltrane no doubt honed during his tenure in that band. Each track of this album is a joy to revisit. The ultimate listenability may reside in this quartet's capacity to not be overwhelmed by the soloist. Likewise, they are able to push the grooves along surreptitiously and unfettered. For instance, the support that the trio -- most notably Tyner -- gives to Coltrane on the title track winds the melody in and around itself. However, instead of becoming entangled and directionless, these musical sidebars simultaneously define the direction the song is taking. As a soloist, the definitive soprano sax runs during the Cole Porter standard "Everytime We Say Goodbye" and tenor solos on "But Not for Me" easily establish Coltrane as a pioneer of both instruments.

An essential modal jazz album and an important precursor to post bop. My Favorite Things is wonderfully hypnotic collection of modal and post-modal reinterpretations of standards, best epitomized by the 13 minute title track, which of course gets all the attention. On the title track, Coltrane expertly turns the sound of music chestnut into a swirling, sprawling dervish of modal jazz track where he and McCoy Tyner manage to keep up an expertly melodic and mellow performance even as Steve Davis and Elvin Jones drum up a storm (pun intended) that swirls around the two with rhythm section work that undoutedly informed much of what we would hear in post-bop tracks from later in the decade. Coltrane shows off his pretty ballad side on the weepy, melancholic ballad that is Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye. Much like with Naima on Giant Steps, this proves to be the only serene oasis in what is a pretty upbeat, rhythmically driving album. Side two, while more in the hard bop style than the first side, is just as if not more energetic than the first side and is frankly just as good, even though it unfortunately gets overlooked by the magnificent side one. Coltrane transforms the often times eerie and sensual Gershwin classic Summertime into a joyous, driving anthem featuring some of Tyner's best piano playing on the album not on the title track and as an added bonus, a fantastic drum solo from Jones. George and Ira Gershwin's usually solemn and melancholic But Not For Me also get's an upbeat treatment to round out the album, complete with some wonderfully playful, dancing piano work from Tyner.

 Track listing:

1. My Favorite Things     13:41
2. Everytime We Say Goodbye     5:39
3. Summertime     11:31
4. But Not For Me     9:35


    John Coltrane – soprano saxophone on side one and bonus tracks; tenor saxophone on side two
    McCoy Tyner – piano
    Steve Davis – double bass
    Elvin Jones – drums

Thursday, October 3, 2019

California Guitar Trio - 1998 "Pathways"

"Pathways" is the California Guitar Trio's 1998 release and bestselling album to date, featuring original compositions and amazing arrangements of the works of Beethoven. InsideOut, who have released numerous CGT recordings, write, "The California Guitar Trio consists of three revered musicians who aren't actually natives of the "Golden State." Actually, two of the members aren't even from the United States! Bert Lams is from Brussels, Belgium; Hideyo Moriya is a native of Tokyo, Japan; and Paul Richards hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. The technical wizardry of the California Guitar Trio is breathtaking, and so is the wide range of instrumental music the group performs -- everything from unique originals to dazzling, cleverly arranged reinterpretations of classical, jazz and surf rock pieces. Elements of blues and country are blended into the California Guitar Trio's style too. Their diversity is unparalleled. There's simply nothing the California Guitar Trio can't do musically."

The California Guitar Trio was formed by Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya and Paul Richards. All three perform acoustic guitar, on this CD, in unedited live studio performances. This 1998 recording is their third work together as a trio, after the 1995 disc "Invitation" and 1993's "Yamanashi Blues".
Before their formation as a trio, Bert, Hideyo and Paul had previously appeared in various configurations of The League of Crafty Guitarists and had also served as three of the five members of the Robert Fripp String Quintet.
On "Pathways", a significant level of performance maturity is clearly in evidence. Thankfully, such maturity has been assigned to a repertoire consisting of classical arrangements along with original, intelligent progressive compositions that match well to their classical sensibility.
In addition to the guitar trio configuration, a number of tracks include saxophone played by Bill Janssen and Roger Lambson. The touch tapped Warr Guitar, performed by Trey Gunn, is included on a few of the tracks as well.
"Pathways" will serve as a beautiful introduction to the work of the California Guitar Trio. It showcases some of the finest examples of their warmly sensitive musical expression.

The 3rd album from the California Guitar Trio. Fresh from recent tours with King Crimson and John McLaughlin they have recorded a heady brew of classics and contemporary material. Everything from Beethoven's 5th symphony, the theme tunes to Pulp Fiction, thought to newly-commissioned avant-grade pieces, all performed on 3 guitars. Track highlights includes: "Arroyo," "Leap," "Adagio for Strings (Barber)," "Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven)," and more!

 Track listing:

01     Allegro Con Brio, Symphony No. 5     5:26
02     Arroyo     3:39
03     Pathways     4:29
04     Leap     2:53
05     Adagio Opus11     4:00
06     Great Divide     2:32
07     Scramble     2:01
08     Classical Gas     2:55
09     Kaleidoscope     0:55
10     Ananda     2:49
11     Adagio Sostenuto, Moonlight Sonata     2:42
12     Presto Agitato, Moonlight Sonata     4:45
13     Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring     2:40
14     Misirlou     1:55


Hideyo Moriya     Guitar, Production
Bert Lams     Guitar, Production, Mixing
Paul Richards     Guitar, Production
Bill Janssen     Saxophone (tracks: 3, 7, 9, 10, 13)
Trey Gunn     Warr Guitar (tracks: 3, 7, 9, 10, 13)
Roger Lambson     Saxophone, Engineering (tracks: 9, 13)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Richie Kotzen - Greg Howe Project - 1997 "Richie Kotzen - Greg Howe Project"

Once again, "Project" teams up Richie Kotzen with Greg Howe for another set of crazy guitar. Recorded in a 90's kind of way, Kotzen and Howe sent their ADAT tapes same studio at the same time. A somewhat darker album than their first collaboration, "Tilt" (a notable exception - the lively "Present-Moment"), the songs on "Project" exude more creativity, while delivering the expected intensity and virtuosity. Kozten has stated, "Making these records with Greg is always a musical challenge."

Great jazz rock fusion from two masters of the guitar. Listen to Howe and Kotzen's "Tilt" album, Richie Kotzen’s “Acoustic Cuts” album and Greg Howe’s “Howe 2: High Gear” album. Buy The Aristocrat’s “Culture Clash” album featuring the unbelievable guitarist, Guthrie Govan who has an unparalleled technical ability with a mastery of almost all styles

This and Tilt I think are Greg's best work, although the new. Soundproof album is really great too. Greg and Kotzen are just fantastic on this album, one guy panned left and the other right.

Greg is like a mixture of Alan holdsworth, George Benson and Eddie all rolled into one. Kotzen is more 70's Rock/bluesy with a twist of fusion and mind boggling lines also.

If you play guitar you should own this album, the Tilt album also.

Track listing:

01     One Function    
02     Retro Show    
03     Present-Moment    
04     Trench    
05     Groove Epidemic    
06     Space    
07     Led Boots    
08     Crush    
09     Accessed    
10     Noise    


    Guitar, Bass Guitar, Engineer, Drum Programming, Mixed By – Greg Howe
    Guitar, Keyboards, Bass Guitar – Richie Kotzen
    Bass Guitar – Kevin Vecchione (tracks: 5, 7)
    Drums – Atma Anur (tracks: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

John Abercrombie - 1994 "Speak of the Devil"

Speak of the Devil is an album by jazz guitarist John Abercrombie with organist Dan Wall and drummer Adam Nussbaum that was recorded in 1993 and released by ECM in 1994.

The follow-up to While We're Young has a less melodic, more loosely structured feel, as if it were all kinetically inspired and freely improvised within various structures. The intuition or trust level of electric guitarist John Abercrombie, organist Dan Wall, and drummer Adam Nussbaum is clearly evident: They are listening, reacting, and responding to each other from measure to measure, and that is the basis for their music making.

It's a fusion of feelings, and those moods -- many times dark -- lie beneath the surface only to rise at their behest. The snarly, stealth, and swirling sound is evident on the introductory cut "Angel Food," courtesy of Abercrombie, Wall, and Nussbaum, respectively, going to a tick-tock beat that is positively blackened on the closer "Hell's Gate." In between you get two free, seemingly unstructured pieces: the unhurried "Now & Again" and the more reverent but interactive "Farewell." "Dreamland" is like "Angel Food" in attitude, while the collective improvisation "Mahat" has hopping 2/4 tom tom beats from Nussbaum moving into full drum kit swing.

The melodies are either nonexistent or harder to grasp; Abercrombie's searing or lilting guitar sound requires close attention. Skating around a melody for "Chorale," you actually get the impression the leader is building disparate, multiple, chameleonic changes within a more definite swing. A true melodic motif, albeit slight, informs "BT-U" in a more rock/R&B beat, while the waltz "Early to Bed" suggests a lovely, extrapolated Bill Evans line, perhaps from "Very Early." Though "While We're Young" was a definitive recording for Abercrombie's vaunted trio, this CD simply offers a different slant. It's the sign of a group either in transition of evolution, and whatever the case, it's an intriguing step for these three uncanny sonic explorers.

Despite all of this, it's an album of deep grooves, a searching and mysterious atmosphere, and above all some fabulous playing. Dan Wall and Adam Nussbaum play really great, but then they always do. In fact I really dig Adam Nussbaum's drumming in this music. He's the one lighting fires under this trio; and yes, I deliberately borrow that line from Miles. What he said of Tony Williams' amazing playing in his fabulous 60's quintet really comes to mind when I hear Adam Nussbaum's drumming bringing life to this particular music. It is inspired playing, and is probably the highlight of the album for me.

What's significant about the playing of John Abercrombie is that in my opinion his playing here is way ahead of anything he's done since. Purely on a guitar-playing level this one is right up there. There's some great solos from JA, and his rhythmic, chordal playing is also absolutely superb. For just one example, check out the wonderful comping behind Dan Wall's solo on 'Early to Bed'. It's an absolute master class! I don't think he's ever played better, but if he has someone please let me know!

On the down side, 'Speak of the Devil' does not contain many memorable compositions, if any; even though there are four JA originals. In fact the weak link, if there is one, is that none of these tunes really stick in your memory for long - I can't hum or recall any of the tunes beyond the time of actually listening to it. It's probably more a case of the abstract treatment than any inherant weaknesses in the compositions though, and this music, though not pretty, is absolutely engaging and totally captivating nonetheless. Though it may not be to everyone's tastes, it is absolutely great Jazz.

Guitarist John Abercrombie is joined by Adam Nussbaum on drums and Dan Wall on the Hammond B-3 organ in a trio recording that really does sound like three musicians making music together rather than a soloist and rhythm section. As always, Abercrombie plays with fluid grace, while Wall alternately simmers and flat-out burns on the B-3, with Nussbaum propelling things right along with his imaginative drumming, all captured with ECM's traditional attention to sound quality. This is a CD that will put your mind in a deep groove for 68 minutes, and as soon as it is over, you just might find yourself hitting the play button for another 68 addictive minutes, and then another...

Track listing:

1. Angel Food (7:55)
2. Now And Again (6:16)
3. Mahat (8:27)
4. Chorale (8:21)
5. Farewell (6:16)
6. BT-U (6:22)
7. Early To Bed (8:20)
8. Dreamland (9:12)
9. Hell's Gate (7:07)

Total time 68:16


    John Abercrombie – guitar
    Dan Wall – Hammond organ
    Adam Nussbaum – drums