Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pharoah Sanders... Shelly Manne... Louis Armstrong/Duke Ellington... Herbie Hancock... Big Bill Broonzy... Muddy Waters... David Murray...Art Blakey

Here's some more Pharoah Sanders. From his 1970 album 'Thembi,' 'Red, Black and Green.' A wild start – squawking, churning, raucous horns soon joined by thumping percussion. Slowly ebbing into modal drone, long-held notes. This track seems to describe a long arc from chaos to serenity...A dense criss-crossing of lines and timbres. Sanders overdubbed his tenor to further spice the mix...

Shelly Manne and his Men at the Blackhawk – one of the great live albums. I was going to post this a couple of weeks ago but saw on the same day that Rab had posted the complete album on his jazz site. I try to keep clear of clashes if possible... but that site has gone now anyway – trolled! So here is some prime West Coast jazz from 1959 – a crisp recording that picks up the nuances of Manne's drums, the subtlety of Monty Budwig's bass especially. Kamuca and Gordon are well up to the mark. Feldman the expatriate Brit plays a thoughtful and swinging solo. A buoyant three four...

Louis and Duke – a relaxed swing through 'Mood Indigo,' introduced by Duke's astringent piano. Armstrong bites off short sharp phrases as the trombone and clarinet supply the famous obbligato. Star of this track is really Barney Bigard, whose clarinet is all over it.

Herbie Hancock and a track from 'Headhunters,' 'Chameleon.' A pumping squelchy bass riff drives it off, shades of Bootsy Collins. Slowly adding intruments and the melody as wa wa guitar-like sounds clip in and out (these were done by Hancock on synths). Lone horn Bennie Maupin battles out front. Something infectious about this track as it bubbles along – a true meeting of jazz and funk. Herbie reins back until he rips out a high, squealing synth keyboard line. A drum break as the bass re-enters and locks the groove down again and the drums have it against a choppy riff in the background. Another long episode – synth strings introduce electric piano. The synth strings rise up as a long wave in places to envelope the constituent parts. Maupin comes back for some r and b type blowing. I had this album way back in the seventies but I think I like it more now, oddly – and I don't like fusion as such. But there is something warm and soulful as well as intelligent and snappy about this track...

In the thirties and forties in Chicago, country blues men who had made the run up North were forging their own fusions. Here's Big Bill Broonzy playing 'You're going to need my help someday.' Some nicely stinging guitar here, locking in with the piano... Big Bill arrived in Chicago in the Twenties and was a massive influence on many of the blues community there. One of whom ironically was to overshadow him eventually...

Muddy Waters came up from Mississippi to Chicago in 1943, where he eventually perfected his own take on amplified blues. Here is a track from 1950 – 'Louisiana Blues.' Muddy's voice shadowed by Little Walter'sharp and his own electric slide guitar, underpinned by Ernest Crawford's acoustic bass. Hard-driving music...

David Murray with his Octet and 'Flowers for Albert,' his tribute to Albert Ayler. A ragged, folksy/calypso feel to the theme in keeping with the subject's music. (The missing link to Sonny Rollins?). This is from his album 'Murray's Steps,' and is not the earlier recording.

Art Blakey recorded 'Free for All' in the middle of the sixties avant gard turmoil – staking his own ground out while opening up his band to the new influences. Powered by the brutal, battering drums of the leaders this is a wild ride. Wayne Shorter up first, buttressed by the trombone and trumpet in places to spur him further onwards. Curtis Fuller solos next, his brusque trombone negotiating the maelstrom, followed by the bright, brash Hubbard, soaring to glory over his frontline compadres sporadic riffing. Some clever arranging (and composing) especially with this particular band from the young Shorter and this track is no exception – but the drums have it – taking a bassdrumstompingsnareshatteringcymbalshimmering solo at the end to put the signature firmly on the music... One of those tracks I put on occasionally to lift my spirits... This is JAZZ...


Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders (tenor & soprano saxophones, alto flute, fife, bailophone, brass bell, bells, maracas, cow horn, percussion); Michael White (violin, percussion); Lonnie Liston Smith (bailophone, piano, electric piano, claves, ring cymbals, percussion, background vocals); Cecil McBee (bass, finger cymbals, percussion, sound effects); Clifford Jarvis (drums, maracas, bells, percussion); Roy Haynes (drums); Chief Bey, Majid Shabazz, Anthony Wiles, Nat Bettis (percussion); James Jordon (ring cymbals) (Again, details in full as so many instruments here, abbreviations would be a nightmare! Cow horn?).
Red Black and Green
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Shelley Manne
Shelly Manne (d) Joe Gordon (t) Richie Kamuca (ts) Victor Feldman (p) Monty Budwig (b)
Blue Daniel (alternative take)
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Louis Armstrong/Duke Ellington
Louis Armstrong (v, t) Duke Ellington (p) Trummy Young (tr) Barney Bigard (cl) Mort Herbert (b); Danny Barcelona (d).
Mood Indigo
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Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock (Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, synthesizer); Bennie Maupin (soprano & tenor saxophones, saxello, bass clarinet, alto flute); Paul Jackson (marimbula, bass); Harvey Mason (drums); Bill Summers (congas, shekere, balafon, agogo, cabasa, hindewho, tambourine, log drum, surdo, gankoqui, beer bottle)
Chameleon
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Big Bill Broonzy
You may need my help someday
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Muddy Waters
Louisiana Blues
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David Murray
David Murray (ts) Bobby Bradford, Butch Morris(t) Craig Harris(tb), Henry Threadgill (saxophones), Curtis Clark(p) Wilber Morris (b) Steve McCall (d).
Flowers for Albert
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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Art Blakey (d) Wayne Shorter (ts) Freddie Hubbard (t) Curtis Fuller (tr) Cedar Walton (p) Reggi Workman (b)
Free for all
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