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Blue Mitchell
Blue Mitchell
Price: £8.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm atmosphere with an exciting jazzgroup, 16 May 2016
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This review is from: Blue Mitchell (Audio CD)
Blue Mitchell was a hard bop trumpet player that is known for his membership of Horace Silvers band during its most popular phases. In the late sixties he also joined Ray Charles band and in the early 70,s he was working with John Mayall in his US-based band. Besides that he also made several recordings as a sideman. Very often in a mix of hard bop, soul jazz and funk, and names like Lou Donaldson, King Curtis and Albert King comes to mind.

But he also had a long career as a recording artist and made over 20 albums in his own name before passing away in 1979. In the 50’s he recorded for Orrin Keepnews and the Riverside label. In the sixties he worked with Blue Note (continuing as a bandleader after connection with Horace Silver stopped in 1964), and in the 70’s he recorded for different labels. Starting off in 1971 with the Mainstream label, where this is his first in a string of six albums.

The re-release company, Ace Records, calls it a “triumphant mix of soul-jazz and hard bop”. It is difficult to disagree. On this album Blue Mitchell teams up with an exciting group. A lesser known rhythmgroup consisting of Doug Sides on drums and Larry Gales on bass are joined by the wellknown pianoplayer Walther Bishop Jr. (a graduate from Art Blakey’s hard bop academy) and surprise Jimmy Forrest on tenorsax. Jimmy is known as the composer of “Nighttrain” and a recording artist in his own right, but with a not too visible career.

On this date Jimmy Forrest plays with a mature and relaxed attitude and very great authority, while the rhythm group cooks in a very soulful way. This recordingdate can in many ways sound like a traditional hard bop album, but there are some small differences. Walter Bishop uses electric piano on a few tunes and Larry Gales has an electric bass feel on a few tunes as well (though I am almost sure that it is acoustic). All this blends into a very warm atmosphere, that can be heard on the Golson tune “Are You Real” for instance.

On top of it of course we hear Blue Mitchell’s perfect and funky trumpetlines. On the edge of early 70’s Blue Mitchell made an album that in some way had parallels to the smooth jazzmusic that enjoyed great success in this decade. But without sacrificing his true hard bop values.

It would be so nice if this album could enjoy just a little more than average jazz re-release success and could open up for a total re-release of all Blue Mitchell’s Mainstream albums as well as a wider recognition of the late Blue Mitchell's talent.


How It Feels To Be Frank
How It Feels To Be Frank
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A contemporary and touching soulalbum by a mature artist, 26 April 2016
Frank Lauridsen is a danish singer, that have been in business ever since the birth of Danish rockmusic. He is known for his strong soul-vocal that initially could be heard as an equivalent to Steve Winwood. In the 70's Frank Lauridsen enjoyed a certain international recognition as a member of the progressive rockband Midnight Sun.

After participating in various bands, musicals as well teaching he finally made his debut as a solo artist in a mature age. On “How it Feels To Be Frank” he is exploring his own musical vision that is rooted somewhere between soul, country music and gospel. The album takes off with a pretty hard-funk track, “Shake That Rhythm” before dwelling into more ballad-alike territory.

Most of the songs are originals written for this specific album, but a few classics has found their way too. “People get ready” is of course the well-known Curtis Mayfield tune, but here supplied with a new sizzling b-part, written by Frank himself. “For what it’s worth” stems from Buffalo Springfield. Frank has performed the tune in various bands over the years and have here finally recorded the tune in a version, that it is the only track on this album with some acid rocking overtones.

Most tracks feature a gospel-like chorus that works fine in a smooth call-response with Frank’s strong lead-vocal. It will perhaps come as surprise that Allan Mortensen, the man Frank succeeded in Midnight Sun, is included here. You can even here his voice separately in the last part of “People Get Ready”.

The music is created by Frank’s regular band featuring bass, drums, keyboards and guitar. The band is augmented on individual tracks with guest artists that add their saucy color to the musical pot. The obvious interplay creates a very organic feel and on certain tracks, just like “River Café”, the result is a low-burn mood. I imagine it would be great for American soft rock radio, but unfortunately Frank Lauridsen yet has to make it outside his home country.

So here you go. Listen to the samples and give the album a chance. A contemporary album by a mature artist, that is perhaps not is as toucing as the late great Johnny Cash’s last albums. But it is closer than you will ever imagine.


Wailing Dervishes
Wailing Dervishes
Price: £18.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authenticity, various influences and exciting oud-player, 23 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Wailing Dervishes (Audio CD)
Herbie Mann was a world music pioner and a creative soul that also had a sense for business and more commercial music. Despite being a very well-known artist his innovative approach and more "pure" world music perhaps tends to be a little overlooked. His extreme productivity may also add to this "blurred picture".

Therefore it is a pleasure to reveal that this album is one of his real secret pearls. The album consists of five lengthy tunes, recorded live cirka 1967-68 with three different bands.The core of the "side 1" band Herbie joins stage with regulars like Roy Ayers on vibes and Bruno Carr on drums and various guest artists. Oud-player Chick Gaminian is also a permanent member and he takes the music in a very interesting direction. For example in the Beatles tune "Norwegian wood" where his "different", apparently armenian, music language makes an exciting contrast to Herbie Manns latin based fluteplaying. But there are several other "etnic" players as well, most notable Mulay "Ali" Hafd on some sort of percussion.

Herbie Mann made several livealbums in the 60's and generally speaking his ideas were best redeemed on stage.On this album the authenticity is obvious and the various musical influences blend in a true world musical expression. For some reason one guestplayer, bagpipe player Rufus Harley is highlighted. It can seem a little ironic as his contribution at least in my ears seems more exotic than pure.

But this does not alter the fact this is one of the real shining albums from the sixties, where search for new directions and crossborder musical expression if being fulfilled. The music is not merely interesting and experimental, it is so good on its own terms.


Greasy Kid Stuff!
Greasy Kid Stuff!
Price: £21.31

5.0 out of 5 stars First division piano sideman on his very own with great company, 17 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Greasy Kid Stuff! (Audio CD)
It is painful to discover that such a great album has not got a single review on Amazon. In my world there ought to be least thirty. Because the music is so great.

Harold Mabern of course is the super piano sideman who has worked with everybody from Wes Montgomery and Lee Morgan up till later times with Eric Alexander. But he has also had a relative un-noticed recording career in his own name, that started on the PRESTIGE label in 1968.

This is the fourth album released in 1970 .Notorious for a it's tasteful interpretation of the Jackson Five hit song "I Want You Back". Most other tunes are original tunes by Mabern himself. And it turns out that he is a very fine composer indeed. Not without a certain resemblance to Horace Silver. An earthy feel with beatiful themes and nice neo bop improvisations and long solos.

He is accompanied by a superteam consisting of Lee Morgan on trumpet. Hubert Laws on tenor, Buster Williams on bass and the great Idris Muhammad on drums. Together they created great music. I hope that all of his Prestige albums will be accesible before too long and that his music will obtain more credit. Listen and you will know why.


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £16.30

4.0 out of 5 stars A fine opportunity to learn more about Joe Farrell when not a sideman, 17 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
After reading a brief note on this re-release I did not really know what to expect. All lovers of jazzmusic knows saxplayer Joe Farrell. This is a 5-album set that covers some of his recordings for the CTI label in the 70®s. It is not always logic how they decide upon the titles, as one CTI-album in between these these albums is not included.

Listening to five albums of course demands time and dedication. Until now I have mainly concentrated on "Joe Farrell Quartet", "Outback" and "Upon This Rock". The two first is small group recordings with people like Chick Corea. Elvin Jones and Jack DeJohnette with the 70's sound, that producer Creed Taylor mastered so well. It is equally smooth and complex. Very jazz-jazz, but also designed for nightradio.

Joe Farrell Quartet" is the most differentiated of the two, featuring both a melodious ballad with John McLaughin as guest, a musical collage and a pretty far out avantgarde exercise. While "Outback" seems more moody with only four long tunes, where Joe switches between flute, tenor sax and soprano sax. The latter being used in way that reminds me of Lucky Thompson.

On many tunes Chic Corea plays a electric piano that blends nice with the all acoustic rhythmgroup and creates a warm muical texture.

"Upon This Rock" is a far more aggressive funkrock affair which exploits the talents of underrated guitarist Joe Beck. Jazzrock excursions could be both crazy and pretentious, This one is very crazy, but not at all pretentious. Apart from a more relaxed tune, "I won't be back" which reveals Joe Farrells talents on the flute, it is high energy music with fine melody lines, occasionally madness, cool funk rhythm and simply a good rockin' feel. On top of it Joe Farrell is burnin' and cookin' like he was playing in small club.

Needless to say I really dig "Upon This Rock". The two remaining albums, "Penny Arcade" and "Canned Funk" also feature Joe Beck. I guess there is much more great music to be investigated. To sum it all up: this is a fine opportunity to learn more about a great musician that many of us primary remember as a sideman,


Twelve Selves
Twelve Selves
Price: £9.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming, differentiated and yet so organic., 17 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Twelve Selves (Audio CD)
For some reason this album seems to be a little overlooked even by hard core Gong fans. And what a shame. Because it is yet another product that reaps the fruits from Allens exploding creativity, since his comeback in 1988. These tunes are to some degree based on poetry reading the way that only Daevid can do it. Nevertheless there is also lots of music, as well as a few re-recordings.

The album is more of less a duo effort with Daevid Allen and Harry Willamson as multi-instrumentalist. They are supplied with a female choir that chants so very nice, sometimes in a call/response with Daevid's lead vocal. For example in the tune "O Wichitio" where the only music is Harry Williamsons programming. While this might not sound very tempting the result is overwhelming.

The twelve selves is very differentiated and yet the album is so organic. Daevid has now left the planet, but his enourmous output is still here .This is a fine testitomy of one of worlds most creative souls.


Sentient
Sentient
Price: £12.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A veritable cornucopia of ideas and subtle interplay, 13 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Sentient (Audio CD)
The album "Live At The Real Music Club" with the group Sentient is to me without a hint of competition the release of the year 2013.

Sentient is guitarist STEFFE SHARPSTRINGS love child. Along with bassist "SUBS " and drummer Steve Cassidy, he has created a masterpiece within the improvised trio-rock format. Its originality is comparable only to the very largest bands. Think of all the names you can think of whether it's the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream or Hüsker Dü. This band is just as original as those.

The music is almost entirely improvised. It may sound scary, but Steffe is a veritable cornucopia of ideas and overview. With an unique sense of disposition and timing - known only from the very best American jazz musicians - he controls the battle.

The rhythm section works quite closely with Steffe in a subtle interplay, which is only possible among musicians who know each other very well. It may therefore seem strange that this concert was recorded at the group's debut in "The Real Music Club" in Brighton (located in the south of England), but it sounds like that there are years of preparation before that.

The CD consists of 5 long tracks that are mostly instrumental, sometimes supplemented by Steffes singing, which mostly consists merely of a few improvised lines. Steffe also plays synth here and there, but most of the time it is his guitar that is in focus.

This applies from the first track " Awaken " which takes off softly but later moves into more extreme avant-garde rock, over to the next track "On The Other Side ," which indulges in a more reggae and dub influenced style, to the next track - "Everything Makes A Difference " - an almost ballad-like tune with a hint of blues inspiration and - again - reggae.

The fourth track on the album is here entitled "Nearer " and sounds a little familiar, since it is a variant of the song " Near & Now " from Steffes old group HERE AND NOW (where Cassidy also has been involved). The last closing track titled "A is for Anarchy " is again a variant of an old tune (at least for a start), but soon it metamorphosizes into pure improvisation. A rockin' end to a perfect album.

Although Steffe has been musically active since the mid-70s there has been years between his public appearances, and the amount of releases can easily be counted. So much greater joy it is to realize that this is a pure masterpiece.

You can use the "underrated" cliché but that is just waste of time. One should appreciate that Steffe plays what he wants and when he wants. And those who are among the lucky few know of his existence and appreciate his talent and perhaps also are aware when a new album comes along. And there is good reason to hurry because the record label 4zero Records has supposedly only made 1,000 copies


Free Form (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
Free Form (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
Price: £6.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Youthful freshness and melodious ways, 13 Feb. 2013
Donald Byrds recent passing to the next life give us all a good opportunity to revisit the great mans recorded legacy. As well as re-appraise Rudy Van Gelder's RVG remaster series which sadly is no more.

Once we were used to almost too many Blue Note re-issues (even though that is only possible in theory), but now the Blue Note website seems dominated by streaming and downloads. Does the dedicated jazz-fan stream jazz to his computer as his or her primary way of listening to music? I guess some of us still prefer a good old fashioned CD with bonus tracks.

Free Form is yet another offering from Donald Byrds most inspired period. His sense of melodic writing is revealed in many different ways. On this album Herbie Hancock (piano) has replaced Sonny Clark in what for some time seemed to be a Blue Note regular rhythm group also consisting of Butch Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). I believe there is some certain magic and youthful freshness to all Blue Note records that Hancock and Warren have recorded (Herbie Hancock debut in his own name comes to mind).

Donald Byrds fellow blowing partner is Wayne Shorter and has he ever recorded a uninspired album in the role as a Blue Note sideman? I guess not. Here he seems like the ideal partner for exploring new ground.

The album starts with an up tempo tune that has this "Baptist Sunday church feeling" that is known from other Byrd albums. Only to be followed by a beautiful ballad "Nightflower" by Herbie Hancock.

The tune that probably opened side 2 is called "French Spice ". It is based on chords that can seem similar to "Here I Am" from the "Byrd In Hand" album, but it is a very original tune in its own right that displays Byrds talent for blending the melodious as well as the experimental in a natural way.

This is followed by the 11 minutes long title track that more than suggest what genre it is about. It is however remarkable how Byrd attempt at free jazz sounds so relevant and pleasant and also pretty melodic. To my knowledge he has not recorded anything like that. If I should (try to) persuade an average pop fan to listen to avant-garde I might choose this one.

The CD closes with a bonus track called "Three Wishes" by Herbie Hancock that does not add much new to this nice album, but still it is worth listening to. At the moment (February 2013) "Free Form" is one the more expensive albums from amazon.co.uk. It is priceless so get it while you can.


King Curtis: Wail Man Wail - The best of King Curtis 1952-1961
King Curtis: Wail Man Wail - The best of King Curtis 1952-1961
Price: £12.21

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular release with focus on the Kings early career, 12 Dec. 2012
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This King Curtis 3CD is a spectacular release because you obtain 96 tunes - almost 4 hours - for very small money AND because it is a clever compilation that focuses on King Curtis early career as well as his sideman career. I have not laid my hands on any album that covers his early career so extensive. Despite having many albums there are very few tunes that I have heard before. I imagine that even very experienced fans of King Curtis will enjoy this release.

The CDs are split between 3 logical themes:
CD 1 KINGS ROCK (1953-1961)
CD 2 WAIL, CURTIS, WAIL (1952-1957)
CD3 TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS (1958-1961)

"Kings Rock" is dedicated to various (very often single) releases in his own name on various labels. Sometimes credited as King Curtis & his Orchestra, other times just King Curtis or King Curtis Combo and even King Curtis & His Tenor Sax with Orchestra. The groups consists of various musicians - know and unknown - to the first group belongs Mickey "Guitar" Baker, Kenny Burrell, Al Casey and Herman Foster, but Curtis regulars like Jimmy Lewis, Belton Evans and Ernie Hayes can also be found. However every other musician seem to become anonymous when the King is blowing his tenor. In fact it is striking just how mature and advanced his playing seems to be from the very first moment.

"Wail, Curtis, Wail" and "Takin' Care of Business" are both dedicated to his sideman career and it is a goldmine of obscure releases from the past. You will hear artists that you that knew about and not a single one is irrelevant. If you did not know Melvin Daniels, Big Connie, Mr. Bear & Bearcats (they really knew how to name a band in the past) or The Twin Tones here is a change to take a trip in the past and enjoy all those that did not make the way to the encyclopedias or even Wikipedia. There are however also artists like Big Maybelle and on "Takin' Care of Business" artist like Neil Sedaka, Bobby Darin, The Coasters and (surprise) Waylon Jennings and even Lionel Hampton can be found between the more obscure pearls.

To sum up: Wail Man Wail is a welcome and clever compiled release that covers a part of King Curtis career that perhaps sometimes is a little overlooked, but it is not merely a documentation, it is an album that can be enjoyed for its sheer musicianship and great entertainment values. If your party is a little dull or your visitors are not talking to each put on any of these discs and things will change for the better.


Color Schemes
Color Schemes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant album from Bobby, 11 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Color Schemes (Audio CD)
This is a great "Blue Note" album from an innovative Blue Note vibraphone artist recorded in the 80s. I know Bobby Hutcherson of course from countless Blue Note albums from the 60s. On this album issued on Landmark (not Blue Note) and produced by the legendary Orrin Keepnews Bobby interprets a few classic Blue Note Tunes in his own sweet way. These include "Recorda Me" (Joe Henderson's "evergreen") and "Whisper Not" (by Benny Golson of course).

The classic tunes are blended with his own originals and together the tunes sum up to nice an album where the musicians play with equal relaxation and dedication. The band consists of Billy Higgins on drums, Mulgrew Miller on piano, John Heard on bass and Airto on percussion. The vibes (& marimba on one tune) blends very nice with the piano. This is hardly the world most innovative or ground breaking album, but with the right pair of speakers and the right glass of wine it could for a moment be world most pleasant jazz album.


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