Friday, September 28, 2012

Fortunately More Sonny

I was sufficiently impressed by Sonny Fortune's Great Friends that I went in search of greater fortune.   Here my Penguin Guide to Jazz (may it be praised!) let me down, unfortunately.   Fortunately, my alternative All Music Guide to Jazz was well stocked with album titles by Fortune.  This sent me looking for Four in One, an album of Monk covers.  It doesn't seem to be in print, let alone available for download. 

That was fortunate, as it turns out.  Amazon had The Trilogy Collection, a package of three Sonny Fortune albums for Blue Note including Four in One.  The mp3 download was available for the deliciously low price of $6.99.  The other albums are A Better Understanding and From Now On

I have just been listening to Four in One  and it is splendid.  You just can't have enough Monk covers in your collection.  I am playing the title cut.  Here is the lineup:
  1. Sonny Fortune (flute, alto saxophone, piano); 
  2. Kirk Lightsey (piano); 
  3. Ronnie Burrage, 
  4. Billy Hart (drums).
I am listening as I write to From Now On.  I will start with the lineup:
  1. Sonny Fortune (alto saxophone); 
  2. Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone); 
  3. Eddie Henderson (trumpet); 
  4. John Hicks (piano); 
  5. Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums); 
  6. Steve Berrios (percussion).
That's pretty impressive.  I like what I am hearing a lot.  I am playing 'This Side of Infinity' and the title cut.  Both are muscular and richly marbled.  Who cares what the third album sound like?  Get The Trilogy Collection. Sonny Fortune is good fortune.  In return, I will try to turn off my pun engine when next I blog. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Charlie Haden & Sonny Fortune

I've added a bunch of music to my station lately, but I haven 't had time to comment.  I'll focus here on two albums.  For some strange reason I didn't get around to acquiring Charlie Haden's Quartet West (1987) until last week.  I have a lot of Haden on various disks, but this one looks to be my new favorite.  The compositions are bold and accessible and exquisitely crafted.  Haden is obviously brilliant on bass.  He shows up on some classic albums such as Lee Konitz's trio disc Alone Together (with Brad Mehldau) and Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) with Pat Metheny.  That puts him in a special sub-genre of jazz that I do not know how to name.

Quartet West has a lot of that sound but is a more typical bop production.  It is very lyrical and romantic.  If you're in a mood for being in a mood, this is your soundtrack.  I am playing three cuts.  "Hermitage," seems to remind me of Herbie Hancock somehow; not the piano work so much, but the feel of the song.  "The Blessing," an Ornette Coleman composition, hardens the bop by several notches on the dial.  "Bay City," is one of those big romantic indulgences that hard bop jazz men employ to remind you of why it is good to have a heart.  Don't let your collection go without this one.  Here is the lineup:
  1. Charlie Haden (bass)
  2. Ernie Watts (tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone)
  3. Alan Broadbent (piano)
  4. Billy Higgins (drums)
I didn't know Sonny Fortune at all when first listened to Great Friends (1986).  Or so I thought.  This fine alto player is on Mal Waldron's Crowd Scene and The Git-Go, ah, that was Where Are You?, two albums I love (even if I am not sure what their titles are).  This 1986 album is not for your romantic moods so much.  When you need a big charge to you heroism battery, this is your powerhouse.  I am very grateful for this addition to my library.  Here is the lineup from AllMusic:
Recorded on July 7, 1986, at Sysmo Studio in Paris, it is the only recorded output of the aggregation that included alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, Stanley Cowell at the piano, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Hart.
 This is a very fine hard bop document.  You don't want to be without it. I am playing 'Equipoise,' 'Thoughts' and 'Cal Massey'. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Craig Harris

More trombone!  I've been listening to Craig Harris documents over the last couple of days.  It is partly a matter of chance.  I put a lot of recent downloads (all legal!) on a CD and slid it into my car player.  I found myself listening to a magnificent cut but I couldn't figure out from the MP3 text who it was.  It was 'Blackwell', from a Harris recording Black Bone (1984).  It put me right in the deep end of the jazz zone.  

Craig Harris has been present at the creation of a lot of excellent jazz.  He has recorded with Sun Ra and David Murray, to mention only a couple of my favorites.  'Blackwell' is muscular and epic.  You can here at on my L365 station.  The whole album is much the same.  Here is the lineup.  
So what do I do when I find such a gem?  I look for more.  I purchased F-Stops.   This is a much more conceptual album, with seven compositions entitled 1st Flow to 7th Flow.  I am playing 'F-Stops: 5th Flow'  and 'F-Stops: 3rd Flow' .

Here is the lineup for F-Stops
You will want some Harris in your collection.  These are a good place to start.