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Reviews Written by
Kenneth J. Morris (Burton-upon Trent, UK)
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The complete Late Quartets (3CD)
The complete Late Quartets (3CD)
Price: 27.18

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sonny - a very competent improvisor., 17 Sep 2011
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None of this material is new. It is culled from 6 CD's recorded between 1975 and 1981 (Sony died in 1982). The relevant discs are: "Mellow" (also featuring Jimmy Heath on soprano/tenor and flute), "My Buddy", "Blues for Duke", "Moonlight in Vermont", "Sonny's Back" and "In Style". When originally issued in the US all 6 recordings were given 3 to 5 stars which indicated a pretty good level of approval. By the standards of today some tracks sound as little dated but nothing can obscure the improvisational inventiveness of Sonny when he gets into a groove. The value of this material lies in the creativeness of Sonny on alto or tenor no matter how unpromising the original melody. There are perhaps a dozen versions of the 12 bar blues sequence - it's a measure of Stitt's talent that even the 12th one still sounds fresh.


Three Classic Albums Plus [The Jazz Couriers - In Concert / The Couriers Of Jazz / Tubby's Groove]
Three Classic Albums Plus [The Jazz Couriers - In Concert / The Couriers Of Jazz / Tubby's Groove]
Price: 8.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tubby, a force to be reckoned with., 17 Sep 2011
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Avid Jazz, the Watford based jazz record re-issuer, are to be congratulated in their efforts to keep the creative flames of 'historic' jazz musicians alive in the 21st Century. With less than a dozen or so UK born modern jazz soloists rated as being of world class stature by the US originators of the genre it is a great pleasure to find 26 tracks spread over two and a half hours (on 2 CD's) featuring Tubby Hayes and his inspired fluency on tenor sax and occasional vibraphone. Three 1957-59 vintage LP's - "The Jazz Couriers in Concert", "The Couriers of Jazz" and "Tubby's Groove" are supplemented by four tracks with Jimmy Deuchar/Derek Humble/Ken Wray/Victor Feldman/Lennie Bush/Phil Seamen (trumpet, alto/bari saxes, trombone, piano, bass and drums respectively. Ronnie Scott is, of course, strongly featured on the two Couriers albums and the two tenorists ably display their incredible ingenuity and ability to generate excitement. These CD's probably contain some of the very best UK 'hard bop' ever recorded. Fantastic value!


At The Lighthouse
At The Lighthouse
Price: 6.21

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost at the start of Soul Jazz, 17 Sep 2011
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This review is from: At The Lighthouse (Audio CD)
Recorded in October 1960 Cannonball had brother Nat, Victor Feldman, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes (cornet, piano, bass and drums respectively) backing him in a 53 minute live set at Harold Rumsey's Lighthouse Club on Hermosa Beach. Originally a Riverside recording the seven item master tape migrated to Capitol Records in 1963 and is now a valuable Capitol Jazz re-issue. This is a really important CD - a 'maturing' of Victor Feldman's piano style and compositions (Azule Serape/Exodus), a clearly tightly knit combo with the then new soul jazz style and the superb soloing talents of the leader. Whilst alternative versions of most tracks (the others are: Sack 'o woe, Big "P", Blue Daniel, What is this thing called love and Our Delight) can be found in Cannonball's repertoire these are ALL fine examples. Recomended.


The Eternal Triangles (2CD)
The Eternal Triangles (2CD)
Price: 18.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Blisteringly original and exciting modern jazz improvisation., 5 Aug 2011
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These two discs demonstrate the consummate skill of 4 "early boppers" who had a) mastered their playing technique b) absorbed the essence of the Parker/Gillespie horn style and c) had the enviable talent of being able to generate hours of original and accessible improvisation (as they say in the radio show) "without deviation, repetition or hesitation". Absolutely stunning performances by Dizzy, Stitt, Getz and Rollins, each man at the top of his game (in 1956-57). All the tracks have been previously issued so to avoid an unnecessary purchase I'll name the album sources: ""Duets", "Sonny Side Up" and "For Musicians Only". If there is anything negative to say it's that too many tracks are based on the unreconstructed 12-bar blues sequence - but even then the variety of the improvisation is staggering. A must for all budding modern-jazz style sax students.


Hayter 619 Spirit 41 Self-Propelled Rear Roller 41cm Petrol Mower
Hayter 619 Spirit 41 Self-Propelled Rear Roller 41cm Petrol Mower

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine product., 4 Aug 2011
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Our new Hayter replaces a Qualcast petrol cylinder self-propelled job of equivalent size. But non-equivalent speed (the Hayter is much faster), non-equivalent engineering (the Hayter has no easily shattered nylon toothed pinion drive wheels) and a non-equivalent range of cutting heights (the Hayter goes down to 13mm - much closer when/where this is required). All-in-all a better made "stripe-leaver" altogether. If there's a flaw it's the omission of a speed adjustment/throttle and perhaps a choke (for cold starts) although I have seen a version for sale in our local Garden Centre which had a choke. Recommended.


Flying High: A Jazz Life and Beyond
Flying High: A Jazz Life and Beyond
by saxophonist. Peter King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poorly rewarded genius., 3 Jun 2011
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I must admit to being a very keen fan of Peter King having possessed an alto saxophone for 62 years and struggled to get even one third of the way to his fluency or creativeness on the instrument as a tool of modern jazz. Peter, on the other hand has been a world class performer since his middle teens. But as this auto-biography demonstrates excellence secures no automatic reward - our musical hero has been impoverished for most of his life. It is a long, detailed, honest and sad story with just occasional glimmers of hope and success. I found the book to be a riveting read as I had "grown up" knowing of and listening to most of the characters mentioned. But in the final analysis Peter has overcome both health and family tragedies to be able to claim his position as one of the finest jazz alto players in Western Europe - it is just tragic that in the UK we have no mechanism for rewarding such talent.


Live at Sir Morgan's Cove 1973 (2CD) + bonus concert tracks
Live at Sir Morgan's Cove 1973 (2CD) + bonus concert tracks
Price: 18.90

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No surprise this remained un-released whilst Stan lived., 3 Jun 2011
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Whist not a "completist" (someone who must have all the recorded output of an artist - re-takes and all) I will admit to owning at least 140 Stan Getz CD's. So it was with eager anticipation that I purchased this 2-CD set of 1971/73 recordings carrying 4 tracks accompanied by the Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra and 12 with a backing trio made up of Albert Dailey, Dave Holland and Billy Hart. What a disappointment. All tracks are painfully poorly balanced, the "La Fiesta" trio track contains an appalling 5 minute coda from Dailey (more like Arthur Daley - drunk) and in general, when you can hear Stan, he is not on best form. Even the orchestral tracks have no post production balancing. Finally there is a so-called "interview" with Stan conducted by some clearly trainee level radio presenters. The demeanor of Stan's replies says it all "I would love to be someplace else".
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2013 10:21 AM BST


The English Castle: 1066-1650 (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies) (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
The English Castle: 1066-1650 (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies) (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
by John Goodall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 36.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big book for a big subject., 3 Jun 2011
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As an avid reader of "sound" history books - the sort that are fact based and devoid of literary licence - I found this work an absolute treasure. Beautifully illustrated (with diagrams, cut-away images and photographs) most in full colour. The principal chapters run chronologically and the entire content meticulously researched and superbly written. Even the modest (quantitatively speaking) remains of my "local" Tutbury Castle, 800 yards down the road from where I'm writing this, gets full coverage. Half of a stone (weight!) of pure pleasure.


Way of Life
Way of Life
Price: 12.47

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Audition before you buy!, 30 April 2011
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This review is from: Way of Life (Audio CD)
Records which feature the baritone saxophone on the majority of tracks are, even in jazz, not at all numerous so it was with eager anticipation that I listened to this CD by the (now) Paris-based European jazz festival artist Celine Bonacina. Unfortunately I met early disappointment. Not because the playing was sub-standard, but on account of the material being so deficient in musicality. Whilst I am aware that many jazz programmes are short on distinguishable melody, novel harmonies and even creative improvisation I become singularly unimpressed by the substitution of pad slapping, breath noises, growling, odd multiphonics, random chattering voices, vocalise, multi-tracking, loops of electronic input and reverb in their place. Celine has "composed" ten of the 13 tracks on this 52 minute CD - performed with a trio made up of an electric bass, drums and (on a selection of tracks) an electric guitar. The latter greatly improves the overall sound. Track one "Zig-zag Blues" makes for a poor start with Celine struggling with her articulation in the improvised solo. In total contrast track 13 "Toty come Bach" she gives a virtuoso un-accompanied bari solo in the form of a Bach partita. It's a great pity this is only 52 seconds long, it's superb.
Between tracks 1 and 13 is a veritable curates egg of content and I would advise any intending purchaser to get onto You-Tube and audition her Festival clips before buying. I would love to have heard Celine working at more conventional material from say, Gerry Mulligan or Horace Silver.

N.B. This review appeared originally in the Winter 2010 issue of "Clarinet and Saxophone" Magazine.


Fast City: a Tribute to Joe Zawinul
Fast City: a Tribute to Joe Zawinul
Offered by RareGroove
Price: 6.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mendoza + Metropole - not quite a winning combination., 28 Feb 2011
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Those who are familiar with the superb arranging talents of Vince Mendoza (e.g for Joni Mitchell) and the fantastic performance skills in so many genres by The Metropole Orchestra will, like me, probably be a little disappointed with this offering. It's not bad but to my ears the Zawinul material selected is not as strong as the average content of any of the Weather Report LP/CD collections. Several of the tracks seem stretched out too far and only one of Joe's "big hits" are included. Excellent musicianship all round (of course) but no electrifying content.


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