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Harry Carney - Rock Me Gently & Harold Ashby/Paul Gonsalves - Two from Duke
Harry Carney - Rock Me Gently & Harold Ashby/Paul Gonsalves - Two from Duke
Offered by Vocalion/Dutton Epoch Direct (Crazygreen8)
Price: £10.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harry Carney - Rock Me Gently and Harold Ashby/Paul Gonsalves - Two From Duke, 20 Aug. 2015
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Harry Carney was Duke's main man on baritone for the best part of 50 years, from his arrival in 1926 until Duke's death so many years later. For all that time he was an essential part of the Orchestra, and for many people the supreme baritone player. Surprisingly, 'Jazz Journal', usually a one man clacque in support of all things Ducal, disliked 'Rock Me Gently' when it was issued. The arrangements, by Kenny Graham, seemed to be the cause of their dislike. They are brassy and slightly angular, not particularly Ellingtonian in sound, but that is as much a refreshing contrast to the solo saxophones as it is possibly inappropriate. The band has three trumpets, one trombone, two saxes and rhythm, so it is brassy. The main trumpet soloist is Ray Nance, featured at length, one of the greatest and most underrated of swing trumpets and here in dominant form. On trombone is Booty Wood, one of the last and least of Ellington's wa-wa trombones. Paul Gonsalves fills the tenor chair and solos extensively with his sinuous line. This is the gentle ballad version of Gonsalves and not the raucous version invented by the long playing record. Carney is probably not featured as much as the other two main soloists, but pleases with his melodic lines not much changed since the early forties and his gorgeous incomparable tone. Rollins Griffith on piano is anonymous and Sam Woodyard, another great Ellington name chops out the rhythm when something more relaxed might have been better. So, all in all, a bit of a mixed bag, but you do hear two soloists on the verge of greatness soloing extensively at somewhere near their best, and you get a rare chance to hear that beautiful baritone sound at some length.
The second session, 'Two From Duke' is also a mixed bag. Gonsalves is featured at length, playing with a smooth full tone and an intriguing line. He is a far more dominant player than Ashby, who is diffident on the slower numbers, playing with a wispy tone lifted from latter day Ben Webster, but much more muscular on the faster numbers, due presumably to his blues background. Nance appears on one track to great effect. On some tracks Jo Jones on drums, is a little heavy handed. Gonsalves, on 'Swallowing The Blues. essays a guitar solo. It was not a good idea.


A Loose Kite in a Gentle Wind
A Loose Kite in a Gentle Wind
Price: £25.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keith Tippett / A Loose Kite In A Gentle Wind, 1 Aug. 2015
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This consists of the title suite in four pieces and a separate dedication to Mingus. The title piece comes from a quotation from Maya Angelou. It is a flowing, whirling work, complex in the extreme in part but also appealing. The musical standards are enormously high and the piece is, or at least should be, a major musical work. To pile on the superlatives, the tribute to Mingus is of equivalent stature, combining both mourning for the loss of the great man and triumph in his life and achievement.
Where all this came from was a brief lived septet, recorded live in Exeter in 1984, and pretty much forgotten since. The band consisted of Mark Charig on cornet, Nick Evans on trombone, Larry Stabbins and Elton Dean on reeds, Keith Tippett on piano, and Paul Rogers and Tony Levin on bass and drums. All play superbly well. Charig is spikey and assertive, Evans muscular and aggressive, and the two reeds battle, chase and scurry together, but the dominant sound throughout is Tippett, both as pianist and composer. He knits the music together as pianist and makes it flow and excite as composer. He has always ploughed a fairly individual furrow in his career but on this occasion has produced triumphant success. I remember many years ago in my foolish youth I walked out of a Tippett concert because I didn't like the sounds coming from the piano! O mea culpa!
The arrangements are rich when appropriate, lean and driving when necessary, melodic but also taut.
Quite simply, a masterpiece!


6 Classic Albums
6 Classic Albums
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Timmons / Six Classic Albums, 28 July 2015
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This review is from: 6 Classic Albums (Audio CD)
Timmons was a very good modern pianist whose career gradually became bedevilled by his addiction to drugs and alcohol and the effects this had on his mental health. In his early days he was a member of the bands of Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley and Art Blakey where he showed every sign of developing into one of the major piano talents of the time, but it never quite happened. His later records were much inferior. Although this set does chronicle that decline to some extent, most of the music comes from the earlier part of his career before the decline really set in to any great extent.
Of the six sessions here the first comes from a quintet led by him and featuring two little known saxophonists, John Jenkins and Clifford Jordan, and the third is a quartet featuring Blue Mitchell as the only horn. The remaining four are all trio sessions with bass and drums.
'Jenkins Jordan and Timmons' dates from 1957 and is superb. John Jenkins is an aggressive modern alto with a little of the searing sound of Jackie McLean and Clifford Jordan a mobile swinging tenor with a touch of early Coltrane. Both are superb players deserving of far more reputation than they ever had. Bass and drums are Wilbur Ware and Dannie Richmond, not a frequent pairing but very good, and Timmons, throughout the disc, plays some lean, mean but very swinging piano. 'Soul Time', the third session, with Blue Mitchell, Sam Jones and Art Blakey is almost as good. Mitchell plays some mobile expressive but small toned trumpet, which leaves the ensemble sound a little bare. The rhythm is as good as anybody could reasonably expect, with powerful swinging bass from Jones, and Blakey showing just how he was the best, driving the band along but also playing with absolute precision. Timmons plays extremely well, tuneful and melodic with nothing extraneous. Another very good session.
Of the remaining trio sessions three are studio dates and one a live session. Sam Jones is bassist on the three studio sessions and Jimmy Cobb drums on two, with Roy McCurdy on one. Jones is fine throughout but the drumming is a little messy. Timmons plays quite well, technically fluent, but on occasion a little heavy handed and ornate. He sounds as if he is not quite at home in the context and is consciously having to fit into it. The lean drive of the group sessions is replaced by ornate lines. The playing is perfectly competent and enjoyable but little more. The live session is better. Albert Heath drums more tidily than Jimmy Cobb and Timmons sounds more comfortable in the trio context.
All in all, pretty good, but would have been better with more band sessions and less of the trio.


Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy
Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy
Price: £16.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Ra / Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy and Art Forms Of Dimensions Tomorrow, 24 July 2015
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Two astonishing records brought together on one C.D. to the confusion and delight of this reviewer. Having convinced myself over the years that much of Ra's output fitted more or less into jazz traditions, I am at a loss to fit this into any category or tradition at all. The best way to listen to this music is to forget about antecedents or classifications and just let the music wash over you. The music, whatever its background, is a simple delight.
'Cosmic Tones' takes up the first five tracks and dates from 1963. The band consists of Ra on various organ and percussion instruments but no piano, six reed players, not all of whom play on each track and who spend much of their time on various woodwinds rather than saxophones, the superb Ronnie Boykins on bass, and various assorted percussionists, with no brass at all. So, the sound is light and airy, with carefully controlled percussive effects contributing both rhythm and melody to most tracks. John Gilmore plays no saxophone but solos extensively and successfully on bass clarinet, Marshall Allen plays oboe as well as his usual alto, but Pat Patrick redresses the balance with some muscular baritone sax. This is carefully controlled music and not some form of hippy freakout. It is also attractive music with immediate appeal and despite its sometime complexity not at all forbidding.
'Art Forms' from 1961/2 occupies the final seven tracks. The band consists of Ra, this time playing piano and various percussion, trumpet (on two tracks only), trombone, the three saxophones and bass and drums. The band sound is still stripped down, but thicker than on the 1963 tracks. Gilmore is featured extensively on tenor, taking a fine solo on 'Kosmos In Blue' and an attractive ballad solo on 'Lights On A Satellite' and Patrick is featured in an aggressive solo on 'Ankh' along with Ali Hassan on trombone. The rhythm is more direct here than on the 1963 tracks with good performances from Boykins and Clifford Jarvis who add rhythmic impetus to all tracks (and two mobile bass solos by Boykins on 'Kosmos'). The saxophone sound is dominant and unfortunately Clifford Thornton, a truly revolutionary trumpeter present on one track is little featured.
Altogether a pleasingly varied issue from two smaller versions of Ra's band


Air Raid
Air Raid

4.0 out of 5 stars Air / Air Raid, 22 July 2015
This review is from: Air Raid (Audio CD)
I bought an identical version of this on the WhyNot label issued by Candid and which, as soon as it appeared, promptly disappeared. I don't know why, because it's a very good record, and the group 'Air', which had a high reputation in the seventies still is known as one of the more significant bands in the avant garde. So, this review is written in the hope that a very good record may appear again without too much delay and to give some recognition to a band which deserved it.
'Air' was a trio consisting of Henry Threadgill on alto, Fred Hopkins on bass and Steve McCall on drums. It came out of the AACM in Chicago, so comes from the same roots as Muhal Richard Abrams and the Art Ensemble of Chicago and was every bit as good as those bands.
This disc has four tunes, 'Air Raid' on which Threadgill plays alto and chinese musette,'Midnight Sun', where he plays alto, 'Release', on which he plays flute and hubkaphone, and 'Through A Keyhole Darkly', a vehicle for tenor. The musette appears only briefly and sounds a little like an oboe, and the hubkaphone, a home made percussion instrument is used in a duet with the bass and drums before the start of a drum solo. The alto is played in a hard blown style with little tonal distortion, the tenor much the same but with a fuller, slightly softer sound. Threadgill throughout shows considerable imagination in his solo work and retains interest. The band work as a collective so a fairly sparse instrumentation creates a varied sound throughout. Bass and drums are not overbearing but take a full part in the collective sound as well as offering rhythmic support.
Like many avant garde groups 'Air' did not have a very long life and Threadgill moved on to lead various larger groups, often with unusual instrumentation and which gave full scope to his composing talents. To these ears, however, 'Air' was the supreme achievement of all three of its members, and it can only be hoped that this disc is reissued with the minimum of delay.


Complete Live in San Francisco
Complete Live in San Francisco
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £13.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannonball Adderley / Complete Live In San Francisco, 20 July 2015
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The original recording was made at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco in 1959 and rapidly became one of the best known live recordings in the history of jazz, and deservedly so. This is a reissue of that disc, but with three additional tunes, alternate versions of 'This Here' and 'You Got It!' and an original version of Monk's classic 'Straight, No Chaser'. Cannonball became less appreciated, at least by jazz purists, as time went by, but at this high point in his career he was a fine altoist leading a very good band. He was a swinging modern alto influenced by Parker but with a muscular approach and sound that called to mind some of the better swing alto players of the forties, and even such as Earl Bostic. He was an affable witty man, as his announcements show, and his music, even when deep in the blues, was always good natured. A Cannonball session was always one to be enjoyed, and never suffered.
Little brother Nat, on cornet and never trumpet, was often accused of being derivative, and he did have a number of Miles Davis licks, but he was always one of the most immediately identifiable of hornmen and the ideal foil to his brother. Bobby Timmons, the pianist on this session, was ideal for the band, a forceful and soulful player but with the ability to play with great delicacy when required. His early death, following drug addiction, was a great tragedy, and this session was one of the highlights of his brief life. Sam Jones, on bass, was a powerful, rhythmic player and combined with Louis Hayes on drums to form one of the best rhythm sections of the time, and a real powerhouse for the band.
The band are on top form throughout the programme, with no weak points. The tunes include two versions of Timmon's soul classic 'This Here', vigorous versions of Cannonball's 'Spontaneous Combustion' and 'You Got It', and attractive renditions of Randy Weston's 'Hi-Fly', Pettiford's 'Bohemia After Dark' and Monk's 'Straight, No Chaser'. Monk is not the composer you would think of first for Cannonball's band, but they show their all round quality by producing a version suited to both their own joie de vivre and Monk's own creation.
Unless your taste in jazz is limited to the pastel shades, there is nothing not to like about this.


Angle / The Day Will Come
Angle / The Day Will Come
Price: £14.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Howard Riley - Angle/The Day Will Come, 16 July 2015
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Two recordings, from 1969 and 1970 respectively, by a trio of Riley, on acoustic piano, Barry Guy on string bass and Alan Jackson on drums. On the three part 'Three Fragments' on 'Angle' Barbara Thompson is added on flute for a rather formal, wholly written piece. The two discs were the start of Riley's career as a leader. He is now a senior, much respected member of the avant garde.
'Angle' is interesting but slightly frustrating. On it Riley plays thoughtful, somewhat formal piano, attractive but not dominant. It's a little like John Lewis in a disruptive mood, considerably more modern than Lewis but also without much of Lewis' clarity of mind. Far more dominant in the music is the bass of Barry Guy, described in the sleeve note as 'rumbustious and violent'. Guy puts on a remarkable display and is the dominant voice in the music. He is aided and abetted by Alan Jackson, a remarkably able drummer who seems to be able to be both subtle and forceful. The sleeve describes the music as being 'based upon the group concept' which may have been the intention but isn't what happens, due to the dominance of bass and drums. Flawed, therefore, but interesting, and unexpectedly satisfying.
The second disc is wholly successful, with all the problems ironed out. Riley is more dominant but still thoughtful, and is well on the way to being the major player he later became. The music is pleasingly varied, from complex work such as 'Playtime' to simpler pieces like 'The Day Will Come'. Riley combines with bass and drums to create a genuinely collective work. Guy and Jackson form a powerful and aggressive team but this time combine with Riley's calm but confident piano to form a satisfying whole.
So, one disc is flawed but fascinating, the other completely satisfying. Together they form a whole well worth listening to.


Memories of You
Memories of You
Price: £11.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Memories Of You / Eddie Thompson Trio, 9 July 2015
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This review is from: Memories of You (Audio CD)
I remember Eddie Thompson from the days before he went to America when he was prominent on the British scene and was a fine swinging pianist. Unfortunately very few of his recordings from those days now seem to be available. After his return from the U.S.A. he was never as prominent on the scene, although he seems to have been recorded fairly frequently by Hep and for that we should be grateful. Here we have a volume by his trio, with Len Skeat on bass and Jim Hall on drums, playing a collection of tunes by Ellington, Hines, Eubie Blake, Garner and Monk. With a possible exception he makes no effort to copy the styles of these illustrious predecessors but plays in a slightly conservative modern style, swinging and melodic, but less effusive than his earlier recordings. His music here remains a considerable pleasure.
Although his music is conservative he remains prepared to try to experiment. This doesn't always work. For example, on Duke's 'C Jam Blues' he provides a fairly sparse version and alters the melodic line. As the whole point of the original was the constant repetition of the C note, this version is a little disconcerting and not wholly successful. However, you can't blame him for trying. On the two Garner tunes,'Misty' and 'Paris Mambo', he does slip into some Garner voicings, which must be very difficult to avoid. On the other tunes, as varied as 'Round Midnight' and 'Memories Of You', he offers swinging melodic versions in his own style but also consistent with very varied compositions.
He is well supported rhythmically.Len Skeat is a very good, albeit underrated (Which I suppose you could say about the whole disc) bassist, who is slightly under recorded. If you turn the bass up you can hear just how good his lines are. Jim Hall, previously unknown to me, is very discrete and offers support more felt than heard. It would have been good to hear them offer the sort of support Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen used to offer to Oscar Peterson, but presumably that wasn't how Eddie saw it.
All in all a pleasure and a happy reminder of a very fine pianist. Now, who is going to reissue his earlier stuff?


The Early Works
The Early Works
Price: £17.18

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stan Tracey Octet - The Early Works, 6 July 2015
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This review is from: The Early Works (Audio CD)
I have long been a great admirer of Stan Tracey's work but I find this a little disappointing. There are two long suites, 'The Bracknell Connection' on most of disc 1, and the 'Salisbury Suite' on disc 2, with a version of the previously unissued 'Chiffik' on the remaining part of disc 1. The band consists of Harry Beckett on trumpet, Malcolm Griffiths on trombone, Pete King on alto (on 'The Bracknell Connection' only, replaced by Jeff Daly on the other tunes), Art Themen and Don Weller on tenors, Tracey on piano, Dave Green on bass and Bryan Spring on drums.
The soloists all play well. Griffiths in particular plays some storming trombone, Pete King plays forcefully but with great clarity of line and the two tenors come on with some rumbustuous stuff. Beckett gets a little bit lost, starting his solos well but lapsing into screams and disjointed phrases, Daly is mobile and fluent but not particularly memorable, Stan does not feature himself extensively and the rhythm, although vigorous and driving, tend to dominate the ensemble.
All three performances are recorded live, none particularly clearly, and on 'Chiffik' the recording quality is so poor that the ensemble is muddy and indistinct. On refection, the merits of Stan's other work, both his small groups and the big bands, include a clarity of sound and a well developed sense of dynamics, neither of which are much present here. There is also very little difference in approach between the three pieces or within each piece. Each proceeds at a medium fast tempo, with fairly intrusive rhythm but no real change of character. This was Stan's first attempt at a medium size band and his later efforts may well have shown improvement.
Of course, anything Stan has ever done is of much interest and merit and this, although not a complete success still has much of value.


Quintet & Sextet with Lucky Thompson (2CD)
Quintet & Sextet with Lucky Thompson (2CD)
Price: £19.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Milt Jackson Quintet & Sextet With Lucky Thompson, 9 Jun. 2015
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A beautiful record from two of the supreme masters of their instruments. Milt Jackson, along with Lionel Hampton, is one of the only two contenders for the greatest vibes player ever, and Lucky Thompson, living proof of the inaccuracy of some nick names, should be ranked as one of the very best of the tenormen, although, as ever in his life, he was fairly overlooked. This double C.D. is a collection of recordings where Milt was leader and Lucky featured sideman on six L.P.s originally issued on Savoy and Atlantic and recorded in 1956 and 1957. They go together well, both being melodic, sometimes rhapsodic, players with fine techniques, the ability to swing and an inner strength that stopped their music being merely pretty. Lucky, although a modernist, had a full, soft tone, deriving much from Don Byas but influencing few apart from Benny Golson.
The first six tracks come from two discs, 'Meet Milt Jackson' and 'Roll 'em Bags' and feature the two of them with Wendell Marshall and Kenny Clarke, a superior rhythm section of the time, with the little known Wade Legge on piano. As Wade sounds much like Hank Jones, the rhythm is near perfect. It becomes perfect on the remaining tracks on the first C.D., where Hank replaces Legge.
On C.D.2 the first four tracks come from 'Jackson's Ville' and feature the same band with Hank Jones. The next three tracks come from 'Ballads and Blues' and feature a sextet, with the same two protagonists and a rhythm of John Lewis, Skeeter Best on guitar, Oscar Pettiford and Klook, so both quality and style remain unchanged. Best, a little known musician who earned much of his daily bread playing in organ groups, shows himself as a subtle and delightful musician, as he did on some trio recordings he also did with Lucky and Pettiford at about the same time.
The final four tracks come from 'Plenty, Plenty Soul' and have Joe Newman added, Horace Silver on piano, Pettiford remaining and Connie Kay on drums. Trumpet is not much featured and the band sound is not dissimilar to the earlier tracks although Silver does toughen things up somewhat.
Altogether two class acts at pretty much their best.


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