Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cecil Taylor 4 pennies Updated

The Complete Nat Hentoff Sessions (with Archie Shepp) [Bonus Track Version] album coverRight this moment eMusic is selling a wonderful 4-CD set of Cecil Taylor recordings for the Candid label: The Complete Nat Henthof sessions for less than six bucks.  

This box set contains material released as  
  1. Air, 
  2. Jumpin' Pumpkins,  
  3. The World of Cecil Taylor,  
  4. Cell Walk for Celeste, and 
  5. New York City R&B
  6. Mixed (tracks 1-3).
plus a wealth of outtakes.

I paid eMusic $5.84 for the whole thing in spite of the fact that I have three of the six original albums.  I just couldn't pass up all the extra material at that price of a single album.  If you don't have the albums, this is an incredible buy.  The box of CDs costs almost $50 at Amazon.  I don't expect the price will last, so if you are reading this blog as I post, go for it quick.  

I am playing 'Johnny Came Lately', one of the bonus tracks recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival 1957.  It is a showcase for Steve Lacy's soprano sax.  I am also playing 'Things Ain't What They Used to Be', and 'Air'.  Both are out takes, not available on the original albums. 

CD 1 & CD 2 [1-6]:
ARCHIE SHEPP tenor sax (on Air and Lazy Afternoon only)
SUNNY MURRAY drums (replaces Charles on CD 1 [2-3] only
New York, October 12 & 13, 1960.

CD 2 [7-10] & CD 3 [1-4]:
Same personnel as above.
DENNIS CHARLES (drums) on all tracks.
CECIL TAYLOR plays celeste on CD 3 [1-3]
ARCHIE SHEPP out on CD 2 [9-10].
New York, January 9, 1961.

CD 3 [5-8] & CD 4 [1-4]:

STEVE LACY soprano sax
ARCHIE SHEPP tenor sax
CHARLES DAVIS baritone sax
New York, January 10, 1961.

CD 4 [4-6]:

Ted Curson (tp on 6 only), Roswell Rudd (tb on 6 only),
Jimmy Lyons (as), Archie Shepp (ts),
Cecil Taylor (p), Henry Grimes (b),
Sunny Murray (d), Gil Evans (cond).
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., October 10, 1961.

CD 4 [7-9]:

Steve Lacy (sop), Cecil Taylor (p),
Buell Neidlinger (b), Dennis Charles (d).
Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island,
afternoon, July 6, 1957.
I found this information at

 Update: I have added to the list of recordings where this material appeared earlier.  The cuts 'Bulbs', 'Pots', and 'Mixed' were released on an LP entitled Mixed along with several cuts without Cecil Taylor. 

I am playing 'Pots' and 'O.P.'

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kahil El'Zabar & Muhal Richard Abrams

There is a lot of magnificent jazz out there waiting to be discovered, at least by this jazz collector.  Muhal Richard Abrams escaped my many trips through the Penguin Guide to Jazz largely because he comes very near the beginning.  Sometimes having a name that begins with "A" is not an advantage.  

Yesterday I downloaded Muhal Abrams album Blu Blu Blu (1990).  This is one of those albums you can't shut down if the house is on fire.  

Pianist Abrams began with his roots planted deep in the hard bop of Dexter Gordon, Max Roach and Sonny Stitt.  He expanded into the avant garde with Roscoe Mitchell and was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).  Anthony Braxton was one of the usual suspects. Blu Blu Blu is a large ensemble album.  Here is the lineup:
I am playing 'Bloodline', and the title cut.  This is my favorite kind of jazz: avant garde genius digging deeply into the marrow of a New York or Chicago blues club.   Everything is here, and not a note is false. 

I also happened on Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio Live At the River East Art Center (2005).  Here is the lineup:
I am playing 'Return of the Lost Tribe' and 'Where Do You Want to Go?'.  Much of what I said above could be said here.   Everyone is good.  Ari Brown's sax deserves a temple.  I was intoxicated by the synergy between Brown and Billy Bang's electric violin.  If you like a great live quartet recording, here is one for you. 

Get these two albums!  Your life will be better in the future.  I promise. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

More David Murray

I am nearly certain I have played this one before.  Well, here it is again.  This is how the avant garde does a power dirge.  It's 'Home', from Interboogieology.  Here are the players:
 I have also added a piece by Dewey Redman from The Ear of the Beholder and one from Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Trane Whistle.  Too lazy now to go into details. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lee Konitz & the Incredible Shrinking Jazz Section

As any jazz fan knows all too well, the jazz section is steadily shrinking everywhere it still exists.  By "jazz section" I mean a section of jazz CDs in any room where other genres are sold.  This is no great tragedy.  The jazz sections are shrinking along with CD rooms as a whole.  This is largely because of the the fact that the offerings of music available have expanded exponentially online (and because movies are still purchased largely in plastic media).  

It does discomfort me, however, that every time I pop into The Electric Fetus ( a great record store in Minneapolis) the jazz section seems to by smaller by about the length of a bass clarinet.  Worse than discomfort, I feel morally obligated to buy something in inverse proportion to the volume of offerings. 
Saturday, happily, I found something that allowed me to exit the store happy and guilt free.  Black Saint & Soul Note had a box set of remastered albums by the Lee Konitz Quartet.  Each disc comes in a slip cover with the original artwork and some of the liner notes.  For about $35 it contained five Konitz albums, not one of which I  possessed.  This is a jazz collectors box of gold.  Here are the albums:
  1. Live at Laren 
  2. Ideal Scene
  3. The New York Album
  4. Zounds
  5. Lunasea 
So far I have only sampled 2-4.   They are splendid and well worth the price of the box.  

I am playing 'Ezz-thetic' and 'Stare-Case' from Ideal Scene
From The New York Album, I am playing 'Limehouse Blues'.  Substitute Marc Johnson and Adam Nussbaum for Reid and Harewood.  

The real gem is Zounds, much more devoted to free jazz.  
  • Alto and Soprano Saxophone – Lee Konitz
  • Kenny Werner –piano, synthesizer
  • Ron McClure –bass
  • Bill Stewart –drums
 I am playing 'All Things Considered', a lengthy showpiece for Konitz's genius, and 'Soft Lee', with Konitz on soprano.  There is a lot of Konitz on JazzNoteNSU right now. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

From Column "A"

Just added to my station are a couple of cuts from The X-Man.  The personnel are:
The cuts are 'A Simple Melody' and 'E-Squat'.   Both are haunting and evocative.  

I also added a cut from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Roots and Herbs.  The cut is 'The Back Sliders,' a classic JM piece from the Wayne Shorter years.  The title sounds kinda like a Lee Morgan album, doesn't it?

David Schnitter's Sketch

This one has been waiting for me patiently in the Penguin Guide.  A single entry under "Schnitter".  I listened to it over the last couple of days and I have concluded that Sketch is more buried masterpiece.  There is so much to appreciate here.  You will hear echoes of the Jazz Messengers, with whom Schnitter played for a long time.  There is a lot of Don Cherry and a healthy lump of Ornette Coleman.  This my favorite kind of jazz album: standards done like you have never heard them before. 

All About Jazz has an excellent review.  From that source, here is the lineup: 
  1. Dave Schnitter (tenor sax); 
  2. James Zollar (trumpet); 
  3. Thomas Bramerie (bass); 
  4. Jimmy Madison (drums)
You really want this one in your collection.   I am playing a couple of cuts from the album: 'For All We Know', and 'You Don't Know What Love Is'.  Enjoy. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau

When I was in Chicago recently, I enjoyed a magnificent concert at the Chicago Symphony Center.  It was a duet with Brad Mehldau on piano and Joshua Redman on sax.  I was in the nosebleed section of the hall, but that was not such a bad place to be.  The sound was great and I could look down on Mehldau's piano. 

I had intended to write a review of the concert before the memory had largely faded.  I didn't get around to it.  I will only say that it was an exquisite experience.  I especially remember their version of "Hey Joe".  It was so deeply compelling that I forgot where I was.  The clip above gives you a pretty good idea of what I heard. 

I am playing 'Belonging (Lopsided Melody)' from Redman's Beyond
 I am also playing 'Blackbird', from The Art of the Trio, vol. 1
So I will leave you with this:

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Ken Laster leads me to the gold

    Okay, so I have been missing a lot of Ken Laster's In the Groove: Jazz and Beyond, lately.  Whoever said that time is money got it wrong.  Time is Music.  Anyway, I have been trying to catch up by throwing a lot of Ken's podcast on discs (mp3) and I listen to it whenever I get in my car.  

    Yesterday as I drove to work I heard his podcast "3 Nights in NYC".  The first cut was 'Moanin' by the Mingus Big Band, from the album Live At Jazz Standard.  I am not generally a big band fan, but this one grabbed me by the short and curlies and lifted me right out of my seat.  Yes, I cried out!  It was magnificent.  Here is the lineup:

    1. Randy Brecker, 
    2. Kenny Rampton and
    3. Earl Gardner, Trumpet
    4. Wayne Escoffery and 
    5. Abraham Burton, Tenor Saxophone
    6. Vincent Herring, Alto Saxophone
    7. Douglas Yates, Alto, Soprano Saxophone and Flute
    8. Lauren Sevian, Baritone Saxophone
    9. Ku-Umba 
    10. Frank Lacy and 
    11. Conrad Herwig, Trombones
    12. Earl McIntyre, Bass Trombone and 
    13. TubaDavid Kikoski, Piano
    14. Boris Kozlov, Bass
    15. Jeff "Tain" Watts, Drums
    This album is superb.  I am playing 'Moanin' and 'Song with Orange', one of my favorite Mingus compositions.  Just to show that Ken and yours truly are on the same wavelength, Ken also playing a piece by Jonathan Blake.  I just put a piece from Blake's new album The Eleventh Hour on my playlist this week. 

    Laster's Jazz and Beyond is the best jazz podcast I have ever found.  Subscribe!