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Numinous Ugo (Edinburgh)

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The Mothership Returns
The Mothership Returns
Price: £16.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 20 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Mothership Returns (Audio CD)
I really liked 2009s Returns and the related 2011 Corea, Clarke & White Forever. This is a definite step forward with the inclusion of Jean-Luc Ponty of violin (numerous solo albums, key Frank Zappa albums Hot Rats, Apostrophe / Overnite Sensation and with Mahavishnu Orchestra: Apocalypse, Visions Of The Emerald Beyond) and Frank Gambale on guitar (who has a long career as a solo artist: Brave New Guitar, Natural High, as pioneering guitarist and has worked with many other bands including the Chick Corea Elektric Band). This has added a new depth to the which makes it fresh and well worthwhile, this is not just a couple of guys added to round out the band, this is a band of peer.

I am not knocking the tune selection, and this band does have a lot to draw on, form RTF, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke in particular. Many a jazz musician has traded on their early compositions for years and still come out sounding fresh and current. All Thelonious Monk's best known compositions can be heard on his Blue Note recordings: Genius of Modern Music, Vol.1 and Genius of Modern Music, Vol.2 but he went to record most of these with different groups of musicians and always made them sound fresh; I never listen to a later monk album and feel disappointed that I have heard him play a particular tune before because he brings something new each time. I do think, however, that if the revival of RTF is to continue the next step must be to get writing and get this unit into the studio to record some new material.

If you have seen this and are tempted but unsure then put your doubts to one side and take the plunge. A double CD of this nature would be a bargain a this price on it';s own but with the bonus DVD Inside the Music documentary (yes I know most of us will only watch it once, if at all) it is a positive bargain.

You may wish to avoid the rather pretentious blurb from Chick Corea and Stanley Clake in the CD booklet, where the mothership metaphor is taken a bit too far, but you have probably learn to live with that sort of thing if you are a long term fan.

Great respect is due to all concerned.


Fall To Grace
Fall To Grace
Price: £4.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Real Substance, 19 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Fall To Grace (Audio CD)
I first heard of Paloma Faith as one of the new crop of female pop singers who was going to set the charts on fire, Adele, Duffy etc, I was rather sceptical and this was reinforced by her appearance on Nevermind the Buzzcocks; she seemed a bit too consciously kooky. That was her dismissed, then I heard her on TV at a Festival and I was genuinely impressed with how well she sang. I had been looking forward to hearing Florence and the machine (another one of that crowd) but she was disappointing; off key and a bit shouty. I then got Ms Faith's debut album and liked it. This new album really good, she has matured and produced some excellent songs with depth and substance. This album will not be relegated to the bottom of your music collection. I don't know what the people who are disapointed in this album were expecting but I guess it was just a capbon copy of her debut album, buy this and enjoy!


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: £11.61

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value Brilliant Jazz!, 15 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
This is a great budget collection of Coltrane's Atlantic years. It contains 3 of the 4 albums that Coltrane approved wilst he was still at Atlantic, the missing album is Ole Coltrane but there is a good arguement for collecting these fibve albums together. Giant Steps was clearly a breakthough album for Coltrane and is still an exemplar for jazz musicians studying Coltrane's chord progression. Giant Steps was also recorded around the same time as he was also playing with the Miles Davis Quintet on the most popular of all jazz albums Kind Of Blue.

On Giant Steps he had used some musicians from the Davis band as he does on most Coltrane Jazz, but represented another transition with the recriutment of McCly Tyner, Steve Davis and Elvin Jones palying on Village Blues, this is the beginings of the classic john Coltrane Quartet, before Jimmy Garrison eventually took on bass duties.

The John Coltrane Quartet then went on to record the iconic My Favourite Things. My dad's vinyl copy of that album was a revelation to me, aged 8 or 9. The title track is clearly the most celebrated but at first I thought, "...how can a serious jazz musician play a trite song from the Sond of Music and still be cool?" but then once he moves away srom the theme he just takes off, wow!

The other two albums here are Coltrane Sound's and Coltrane Plays the Blues. John Coltrane was not involved in putting these albums together nor did he approve their release. These albums were both compiled by Atlantic from unsued tracks recorded during the My Favourite Things sessions. Coltrane was prolific in every way and son Atlantic were left with a whole bunch of unreleased recordings once he had moved on to Impulse (see The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records) and his growing popularity cried out for them to use them. as is turns out these are very good albums and, although not Coltrane's best that is only because of his brilliance and the sheer number of great albums he produced.

If you are just starting to collect John Coltrane this would be a good place to start, but also check out hi earlier work with Miles Davis Davis & Coltrane [1955-1961] and then there is the Impulse years. Don't start with Ascension (was too scary for beginners) it is best to start at the beginning of hi Impulse years with Africa/Brass, Greensleeves picks up where My Favourite Things left off.

If you have any interest at all in jazz this is one of the key guys to listen to and this is a good place to start.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 8:34 PM GMT


The Land of Spirit and Light (LPR. Int'l Jewel Version)
The Land of Spirit and Light (LPR. Int'l Jewel Version)
Price: £5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 28 May 2012
Michael White is one of those guys who was a real pioneer, as part of the early jazz rock fusion movement in Fourth Way with Eddie Marshall, Mike Nock,and Ron McClure, producing three great albums Fourth Way and Fourth Way - Sun and Moon Have Come Together (Digipak) in 1969 and Werwolf in 1970, before that broke up. He had previously been in the John Handy Quintet and after The Fourth Way recorded a series of excellent albums for Impulse records, starting with Impulse 2-on-1: Spirit Dance / Pneuma and ending with Go with the Flow. He spent some years in the wilderness before becoming hip again. This 2006 outing show him in great form in an almost impossible jazz world fusion mode. Having recently rediscovered Michael White I cannot get enough of him.


Kulu Se Mama
Kulu Se Mama

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nearly Great Album, 27 May 2012
This review is from: Kulu Se Mama (Audio CD)
Like other reviewers before me I was a bit uneasy with the vocals in the title track, however on repeated listens and with my recent immersion in all things impulse, I have come to view this as part of the era and I do now listen to Kulu Sé Mama and appreciate it. For those who will find that jarring most of the other tracks are available on Selflessness Featuring My Favorite Thing, Transition and Living Space /Imp. Of these albums Transition works the best, sounding like a real album; not just a collection of track. Selflessness is pretty good too, with a rather good cover too. The only track other than the title track that you won;t easily get elsewhere is the alternate take of Dusk Dawn.

John Coltrane is one of my all time favourites but clearly some of his music takes slightly longer to get into than other; you ned to grow the ears to hear Selflessness for example but if you put in the listening time you may find you are uploading Ascension onto your iPod to listen to on the journey home from work. Some days you really do need that level of spiritual renewal!


Transition
Transition
Price: £8.49

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coltrane Is Flying!, 24 May 2012
This review is from: Transition (Audio CD)
John Coltrane, thanks to Bob Thiele's clandestine open door studio time policy with Coltrane, recorded a huge amount in his final years. It is little wonder, therefore, that some of the releases had been put together in rather random combinations. The album Transition was originally released as:

1. Transition - 15:31
2. Dear Lord - 5:32
3. Suite (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and
Meditation: 4 A.M.) - 21:20

With some rationalisation Dear Lord was reunited with other tracks from that session on dear old stockholm where Roy Haynes was the stand in drummer, Elvin Jones being unavailable.

The track listing since 1993:

1. Transition - 15:31
2. Welcome - 5:34
3. Suite (Prayer and Meditation: Day, Peace and After, Prayer and Meditation: Evening, Affirmation, Prayer and
Meditation: 4 A.M.) - 21:20
4. Vigil - 9:51

I agree with the other reviewer here that the two track added to this later CD version of Transition sit much better in this context than as padding to make an album out of Kulu Se Mama.

John Coltrane's Impulse legacy is huge and although some of the later release are more challenging listening than others the standard is extremely high. This album is a very satisfying listen and sounds like a considered album rather than a collection of tunes.

I feel about John Coltrane a bit like John Peel did about Captain Beefheart when asked which albums people should really listen to, he answered "All of them; every day!" John Coltrane din't just play music, he lived it: music was a passion rather than a job. He had so many musical ideas that he needed to get it all out there. His early death was tragic and, like many other musicians cut down in their prime, he clearly had so much more left to give. It is tantalising to consider where he might have gone next.


The Impulse! Albums: Volume Two
The Impulse! Albums: Volume Two
Price: £13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Coltrane! Brilliant! However..., 21 May 2012
This is a brilliant boxed set and for audiophiles it is remastered and all that stuff. The albums containe are:

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
Impressions
Coltrane Live at Birdland
Crescent
A Love Supreme

If you are just starting out buying John Coltrane then I would strongly recommend that you buy the Impulse years stuff this way; these are the best versions with stunning sound and beautiful boxed sets, however, those of us who perhaps had recently shelled out for Love Supreme: Deluxe Edition (Shm-CD) might feel that another version of the original album is unnecessary. If, like me you already have all of Coltrane's output you might think that the sound quality and mastering is already excellent, which it is, and that this is an upgrade too far.

Having presented that caveat, these are excellent albums; I know for some jazz fans , and Coltrane fans in particular, Johnny Harman's laid back vocals are a million miles away from Coltrane in terms of style and musical preferences, but it is a classic Impulse pairing of opposites and is well worth having. Impressions contains two tracks, India and the title track feature the iconic Eric Dolphy from Coltrane's 1961 residency at the Village Vanguard, New York along with a couple of other track recorded at a different time, but it still sits together brilliantly as an album.
Coltrane Live at Birdland catches another brilliant performance and is worth owning for the opener Afro-Blue alones, . Crescent is an album that might easily get lost in the flurry of creative brilliance surrounding the last album on this set A Love Supreme (there is nothing that really needs to be said about that album, it is legendary0 however Crescent is seen by some as just a transitionary album; a kind of run up to A Love Supreme. This would be to do both the album and Coltrane a huge disservice ; Crescent is a brilliant album full of some of the quartet's most beautiful performances, with lyricism leading to flights of improvisational brilliance.

Listen to these albums before you try to tackle any of the latter and posthumous albums like Ascension, Meditations or Interstellar Space, you will need the ear training. If you are serious about John Coltrane you should also check out A Love Supreme: The Creation of John Coltrane's Classic Album's books: (an in depth analysis of that albums and its recording) and The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records about the iconic Impulse label.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2012 1:41 PM BST


The House That Trane Built: The Story Of Impulse Records
The House That Trane Built: The Story Of Impulse Records
Price: £45.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Impulsive!, 18 May 2012
This is a great companion to Ashley Khan's maticulous The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records but let's face it, with so many of the 2:1 Impulse CDs so chaep just now you want to get a whole lot of the complete albums. My local record shop (yes I still insist on calling it a record shop) Fopp in Edinburgh, has had a lot of these, like Impulse 2-on-1: Hard Work / Carnival , Impulse 2-on-1: Spirit Dance / Pneuma, Village Of The Pharoahs / Wisdom Through Music, for £3 or 2 for £5 in recent weeks, most annoying when I see these bargains an I already bought the single albums for £5 or £10!

Anyway I did have nearly all the albums on this anthology and decided to get theothers and create this collection as an iTunes playlist. The result is rather good. I downloaded the version of Impressions from amazon because it did not match with any I had and I was rather puzzled by the Stanley Turrentine track; why is it listed as Stanley Turrentine? Yes I know he plays sax on it and that is essentially the lead instrument on it but it is from Shirley Scott's Queen of the Organ.

Quibbles aside about that misattribution and what is not covered, as other reviewers have raised, this is a brilliant colection. Clearly the only way to represent Impulse properly is to collect all the albums it released, some are clearly much harder to get your hads on than others, Chico O'Farrill's Nine Flags may have been a bit of gratuitous product placement but musically it actually stands up pretty wel, but it very hard to get hold of, vinyl only never seen it on CD.

My advice is get the Ashley Khan book and listen to appropriate tracks as you read. The Features on individual albums are best read to the sound of the music. You will soon find a compulstion to get out there collecting as much as you can of this briliant music; you might event find yourself listening to John Coltrane's Ascension and getting realy into it.

If you are not such a compulsive collector that you would want all these artists' output from Impulse but want a broader overview than this collection you could do worse than invest in some of the Impulse Story compilations such as: McCoy Tyner The Impulse Story, Archie Shepp The Impulse Story, John Coltrane The Impulse Story or Pharoah Sanders The Impulse Story.


Four For Trane
Four For Trane
Price: £7.20

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archie Shepp's Breakthrough, 17 May 2012
This review is from: Four For Trane (Audio CD)
In Ashley Kahn's excellent The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records Archie Sheep states that this album was the result of months of trying to get Bob Thiele to given him a recording date. He called his office daily only to be fobbed off by Lillian, Thiele's secretary; Bob was out to lunch or some other excuse. Eventually Archie asked John Coltrane to put in a word for him and the following day Bob Thiele took his call. He clearly did not want to record Shepp, too avant-garde, so he tried to antagonise him into walking away by insisting on only John Coltrane compositions but Shepp was ready and was keen on the idea anyway,; he and his band had been rehearsing these number for week anyway.

At first in the studio Thiele was rather dismissive and rude but after recording three numbers he said " I've got to call john and tell hime this stuff is great." Coltrane then drove over to from Long Island to Englewood at 11 o'clock at night to hear the results. The cover photograph was taken at that time, Shepp points out that Coltrane is not wearing any socks and was probably in bed when he got the call. This is not how we music fans imagine things happen for our heroes but it makes this all the more fascinating an album, especially since this was the first of a run of 10 Impulse albums he recorded as leader between 1964 - 1969: Fire Music /Imp, On This Night (not counting New Thing At Newport) Live In San Francisco through to Impulse 2-on-1: For Losers / Kwanza he recorded another 3 albums in 1971 - 1972 for that label the last of which was The Cry Of My People These later albums became more mainstream, including vocal, song structure etc, but this man infuses so much musicality into everything he does, it is never a sell out, just as this album might have become in less confidant hands.

Do not be put off by the avant-garde label, I know my parents were very suspicious of it. They introduced me to loads of great music: My Favorite Things for example, but there were areas they would not go to. I think they were still reeling from the schism that be-bop had created.

If you are serious about having a jazz collection then this is one you need.


New York Contemporary Five
New York Contemporary Five
Price: £25.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Free Jazz, 17 May 2012
This was Vol.2 of the original two vinyl LP release of the top band playing live. These were later release as a single CD The New York Contemporary Five but with the omission of the 11 minute Cisium which opens this album. As the review from Amazon.com highlights here this is a real blinder of a number so, although its omission was logical for fitting the music on one CD you really would not want to go without this track.

This is not a bunch of guys flying off in different directions, you can hear the interplay between John Tchicai, Archie Shepp and Don Cherry. The rhythm section of Don Moore on bass and drummer J.C. Moses provide a dynamic pulse and momentum that holds the whole thing together. I have only recently heard these recordings and this band was really hot, I love this music.


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