Saturday, April 12, 2014

PAUL SMOKER TRIO – Come Rain Or Come Shine (1989)

Label: Sound Aspect Records –  SAS  CD 024
Format: CD, Album; Country: W.Germany - Released: 1989
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded 18-19 Aug, 1986 in Cedar Falls, Iowa
Engineer By – David Baker
Executive Producer By – Pedro de Freitas

Five years ago, Paul Smoker Trio gave his brilliant European debut in Moers. At the legendary "New Jazz Trio" with Manfred Schoof, Peter Trunk and Cee lake felt you remember, but played the Americans its Free Bop with the concentrated power of the currents of the 80s. Now, the third album by this still equally populated and the same exciting gambling trio had appeared; and yet you're looking in the latest American and West German jazz encyclopedia the name of trumpeter Paul Smoker vain. Maybe it is because he teaches away from the Media Representative peered New York in Iowa at a college. Instrumental Technically any case he needs any more than Ron Rohovit, bass, and Phil Haynes, drum kit to put his light under a bushel. In the album of humorous text is a Don Cherry, who makes on Maynard Ferguson, the speech - which also points to the crux of this music back: Paul Smoker sounds like he should be a world champion to flex its muscles in constant power play. But breaks would not have to be energetically dead moments. The excel-lent bass playing, the beneficial also in the middle and lower register he-goes to can, to appear in the rare trumpet moments without some of the worn generen energy flows; also the perfect shape consciousness of the drums then opens up new sonic spaces. These quieter periods, however, are rare; dominate the power play interactions, quite in the manner of the European new jazz of the late 60s. Pieces of you have the great joy because in the long run annoys's.

Note: Small history of composition "Come Rain Or Come Shine"

“Come Rain or Come Shine” is a wonderful composition with a fantastic melody and very challenging changes. For the jazz musician, there are many openings for altering the changes and heading in different directions harmonically.
_ By David Friesen, jazz bassist

While many of the great song composers used repeated notes as a device to build tension and emphasize their harmonies, Harold Arlen, as a rule, was not one of them. “Come Rain or Come Shine,” however, is not just a rare Arlen exception; it may very well be the repeated-notes-champion among the top jazz standards.

1. “Come Rain or Come Shine” was introduced by Ruby Hill and Harold Nicholas in the Broadway musical St. Louis Woman. Set in St. Louis in 1898, the story revolved around Della Green (Hill), a woman who wants out of her relationship with bar owner Biglow Brown (Rex Ingram) when she falls for Li’l Augie, (Nicholas), a jockey on a winning streak. The show opened on March 30, 1946, at the Martin Beck Theatre to lackluster reviews and attendance and closed after only 113 performances. 
St. Louis Woman was beset with problems before it even opened. Songwriter Harold Arlen and lyricist Yip Harburg had just scored two successes with Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s Wizard of Oz, for which they won an Academy Award for Best Song, and the long-running Broadway musical, Bloomer Girl (1944). Profiting from stakes in both productions, MGM was eager to back Arlen’s St. Louis Woman, an all-black show based on Arna Bontemps’ first published novel, God Sends Sunday (1931). MGM was further willing to provide Lena Horne as the leading lady, and Johnny Mercer signed on to write the lyrics.

2. Talented trumpet player Clifford Brown had a brilliant career cut short by his untimely death in an auto accident at age 25. However, during his four years of recording he managed to leave a large body of work with many great moments of jazz.
In Paris, as a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1953, Brown was in the studio with a small group made up of his compatriots from the Hampton band, performing arrangements written by Quincy Jones (also a member of the Hampton group). On the CD reissue of their recording of “Come Rain and Come Shine” we have the opportunity to hear two takes of the tune, illustrating Brown’s inventive genius.

3. The 1959 recording of “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles (The Genius of Ray Charles) is widely beloved and is a great example of the song as a vehicle for ballad singing. The tune is often played with a swing feeling as well, and the standout performance among many in this style is Art Blakey’s from 1958 (Moanin'). This performance features dramatic solos from each of Blakey’s sidemen from this incarnation of Jazz Messengers, Bobby Timmons, Lee Morgan, Benny Golson and Jymie Merritt.....etc....etc.... 

If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Label: AMIGA – 8 50 041 (Series: Amiga Jazz)
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Mono, Reissue
Country: German Democratic Republic (GDR); Released: 1980 
Style: Hard Bop, Free Jazz
Recorded at Walldorf Tonstudio Frankfurt, 6 and 7 Jun 1964
Photography By [Liner Foto] – Mara Eggert
Producer - Horst Lippmann
Liner Notes By – Karlheinz Drechsel
Written-By – Albert Mangelsdorff (tracks: A1 to A4, B2, B4), Heinz Sauer (tracks: B1), Ravi Shankar (tracks: B3)

Albert Mangelsdorff had just completed a long concert tour in Asia prior to this recording session in Frankfurt, where he documented many of the originals that he performed on the road.

A1 - Now Jazz Ramwong . . . 9:02
A2 - Sakura Waltz . . . 3:27
A3 - Blue Fanfare . . . 6:41
B1 - Three Jazz Moods . . . 6:13
B2 - Burungkaka . . . 3:28
B3 - Raknash . . . 4:42
B4 - Theme From Vietnam . . . 0:59
B5 - Es Sungen Drei Engel . . . 7:31

GÜNTER KRONBERG – Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
HEINZ SAUER – Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
ROLF HÜBNER – Drums, Percussion

Brilliant modern jazz from German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff – recording here in 1964, but sounding years ahead of his time, with an amazing a blend of jazz and Asian styles! The album's one of Mangelsdorff's best ever – a set of rhythmic tunes that seem clearly informed by the work of Ornette and Joe Harriott, but also based along eastern themes picked up by the group on a tour of the Orient – and performed by a sharp-edged quintet that includes Heinz Sauer on tenor and soprano sax, Günter Kronberg on alto, Günter Lenz on bass, and Ralph Hübner on drums. There's some nice traces of MPS/Saba modal and Jazz Meets the World styles – and overall, the rhythmic pulse keeps things from getting as free and out as on Mangelsdorff's 70s sides – really soaring, but never too far out – and always with a cool exotic groove. The whole thing's great – instantly striking, and always a treasure – and titles include "Sakura Waltz", "Now Jazz Ramwong", "Raknash", "Theme From Vietnam", and "Burungkaka".


If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, April 4, 2014

CHICO FREEMAN – The Search (LP-1983)

Label: India Navigation – IN 1059
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: US - Released: 1983
Style: Hard Bop, Free/Avant-Garde Jazz
India Navigation Studio Recording, 1982
Design – Tan Ohe
Photography By – Beth Cummins
Producer – Bob Cummins

This is a beautiful collaboration between Freeman and the vocalist Val Eley. All four tracks include vocals by Eley. Her singing is very strong. The opening, "The Search", starts with unaccompanied vocal line. The moment when the piano trio jumps in always gives me goosebumps even after tens of listens to this album. I was at a cafe one day and listened to this album, fascinated with it, and walked immediately to a record store and bought it. Kenny Barron is so wonderful on this album. McBee playing in this album is very secure (in terms of intonation). Participation of Nana Vasconcelos is also great. All the four compositions are very well composed, arranged, and performed.

A1 - The Search  10:52
A2 - Illas  11:48
B1 - Close To You Alone  7:30
B2 - Soweto Suite  12:25

CHICO FREEMAN – Saxophone, Flute
VAL ELEY – Vocals
JAY HOGGARD – Vibraphone, Marimba
NANA VESCONCELOS – Berimbau, Percussion

Surely, it ’ s not the most known album nor the easiest to find of this musician and composer. Even so, it ’ s an excellent work, where the vocal performance of Val Eley gives it a character of great beauty and exclusivity.

Although Jazz always was the basis of the music composed by Chico Freeman, many of his works present a rather sharp stylistic diversity as he himself likes to point out: “ My objective is to explore new worlds, and I don ’ t want to be limited by categories. The only limitations I place on myself are the limitations on my own imagination, and within that realm, there are none ” .

Comprising three originals from Freeman and one from Cecil McBee, “ The Search ” is a memorable album, which reveals the vocal performance of Val Eley denoting a strong lyrical component, a style of recitation and drama so popular in the Cabaret music or the hippie revival of the musical “ Hair ” . Although I ’ m not a special follower of the singing Jazz, this album left me rendered to Eley ’ s vocal and interpretive skills, from the very first audition.

But this musical piece is much more than the voice of Eley, or we were not dealing with a star cast, composed of the finest instrumentalists. The faultless performance of Cecil McBee (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) is joined by the brilliant Kenny Barron (piano), giving the 40 minutes of this record, an unparalleled rhythmic robustness. Jay Hoggard (vibraphone/marimba) and Nana Vasconcelos (berimbau/percussion) complement the aesthetic sense of this work, with details of great opportunism and excellence. As for Chico Freeman, those who know him from other albums, know how exciting his performance can be. A real musical treat.

Generating a positive wave that emanates a contagious spirituality of influences as diverse as the Hard- Bop, R&B or the Free/Avant-Garde Jazz, this work can be heard with the greatest pleasure, without ever becoming dull or boring.

"The Search" is indeed a serious case of inspiration and musical quality and therefore I never tire of recommending it to all my friends and lovers of good music.

If you find it, buy this album!

ORNETTE COLEMAN – Twins (recorded between 1959 and 1961, LP-1971)

LP cover originally released in 1971

Label: Atlantic – SD 1588
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, 180 Gram; Country: US - Released: 1971
Style: Free Jazz, Hard Bop
"First Take" recorded on December 21, 1960, at A&R Studios, New York City.
"Little Symphony" recorded on July 19, 1960, at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York City.
"Monk And The Nun" recorded on May 22, 1959, at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California.
"Check Up" recorded on January 31, 1961, at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York City.
"Joy Of A Toy" recorded on July 26, 1960, at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York City.
Design [Cover Design] – Haig Adishian
Photography [Cover Photo] – Omar Kharem Producer – Nesuhi Ertegun
Design [Cover Design] – Haig Adishian
Liner Notes – Martin Williams
Mastered By – George Piros
Mixed By [Re-mix Engineer] – Geoffrey Haslam

"Ornette Coleman's music has always shown an expressive feel for the playful, the joyful, the whimsical side of human nature. And I'd say it's often there, deep down, in things he plays or writes in quite different moods." _ Martin Williams

A1 - First Take  17:00
A2 - Little Symphony  5:15
B1 - Monk And The Nun  5:56
B2 - Check Up  10:11
B3 - Joy Of A Toy  4:40

Artists on Check Up : DON CHERRY (cor), ORNETTE COLEMAN (as), SCOTT LaFARO (b), ED BLACKWELL (d), recorded NYC, January 31, 1961. Recording Engineer Tom Dowd.

Other tracks: DON CHERRY (pocket tp), FREDDIE HUBBARD (tp), ERIC DOLPHY (bcl), ORNETTE COLEMAN (as), CHARLIE HADEN, SCOTT LaFARO (b) ED BLACKWELL, BILLY HIGGINS (d), sessions May 22, 1959, July 19, July 26, December 21, 1960.

Ornette Coleman
Freddie Hubbard

Ornette Coleman's Twins (first issued on LP in 1971) has been looked at as an afterthought in many respects. A collection of sessions from 1959, 1960, and 1961 with different bands, they are allegedly takes from vinyl LP sessions commercially limited at that time to 40 minutes on vinyl, and not initially released until many years later. Connoisseurs consider this one of his better recordings in that it offers an overview of what Coleman was thinking in those pivotal years of the free bop movement rather than the concentrated efforts of The Art of the Improvisers, Change of the Century, The Shape of Jazz to Come, This Is Our Music, and of course the pivotal Free Jazz. There are three most definitive selections that define Coleman's sound and concept. "Monk & the Nun" is angular like Thelonious Monk, soulful as spiritualism, and golden with the rhythm team of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins driving the sweet and sour alto sax of Coleman and piquant trumpeting of Don Cherry. "Check Up" is a wild roller coaster ride, mixing meters, tempos, and dynamics in a blender in an unforgettable display of sheer virtuosity, and featuring bassist Scott LaFaro. "Joy of a Toy" displays the playful Ornette Coleman in interval leaps, complicated bungee jumps, in many ways whimsical but not undecipherable. It is one of the most intriguing of all of Coleman's compositions. Less essential, "First Take" showcases his double quartet in a churning composition left off the original release This Is Our Music, loaded with interplay as a showcase for a precocious young trumpeter named Freddie Hubbard, the ribald bass clarinet of Eric Dolphy, and the first appearance with Coleman's groups for New Orleans drummer Ed Blackwell. "Little Symphony" has a great written line with room for solos in a joyful hard bop center with the quartet of Coleman, Cherry, Haden, and Blackwell. All in all an excellent outing for Coleman from a hodgepodge of recordings that gives a broader view of his vision and the music that would come later in the '60s.


If you find it, buy this album! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

QUINTET – Quintet At Mulhouse, 29 / 08 / 2008 (JAZZ À MULHOUSE – FREE MUSIC 2008)

Label: Private Recording / DP-0845
Format: CD, Album; Released: 2008
Style: Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
Quintet At Mulhouse, 29.08.2008
Recorded live at JAZZ À MULHOUSE – FREE MUSIC 2008, France
Design by ART&JAZZ Studio Salvarica
Artwork and Complete Design by VITKO

01 Quintet at Mulhouse 2008 – Intro  (1:33)
02 Quintet at Mulhouse 2008 - Improv Set  (60:04)

A festival line-up has its hazards, contradictions and happy events. At the beginning, two bands were foreseen : the 1st with Clayton Thomas, the 2nd with John Edwards and Evan Parker. Unavailability and failure of both projects. Clayton Thomas expressed his wish to play with Pascal Le Gall. We therefore submitted the idea of a quartet with two basses to which Evan Parker suggested to add an old buddy, Tony Marsh… Idea accepted. Free music gets the better of us !

26/08/2008 – 30/08/2008

- Barre PHILLIPS solo

- Peter EVANS solo
- ZAKARYA (Yves WEYH / Alexandre WIMMER / Vincent POSTY/ Pascal GULLY)
- Dorothea SCHURCH / Jacques DEMIERRE / Roger TURNER
- ROOT DOWN (Orchestre de 22 musiciens dirigé par Tommy MEIER)
- THAU 4TET (Sabina MEIER / Hans KOCH / Paed CONCA / Fabrizio SPERA)

- HUBBUB (Jean-Luc GUIONNET / Bertrand DENZLER / Frédéric BLONDY / Jean-Sébastien   MARIAGE / Edward PERRAUD)

- Axel DÖRNER, solo
- EDGAR (Sébastien COSTE / Will GUTHRIE)
- Catherine JAUNIAUX / Sophie AGNEL
- QUINTET (Evan PARKER / John EDWARDS / Clayton THOMAS / Pascal LE GALL / Tony MARSH)
- BAISE EN VILLE (Natacha MUSLERA / Jean-Sébastien MARIAGE)

- Nikos VELIOTIS, solo

Friday, March 28, 2014


Label: ILK Music – ILK 148CD
Format: CD, Album; Country: Denmark - Released: 30 March 2009
Style: Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
Live concert recording from Loft, Cologne on June 22, 2005.
Recorded At – Loft, Köln, Germany
Barcode: 5706274002010

The music appears as played and heard with a minimum of editing.

A pure improviser, Danish native Anker pushes and pulls a variety of extended themes on this recording, with the American-based team of acoustic pianist Craig Taborn alongside drummer Gerald Cleaver.

This is the second release by Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker with her trio with Craig Taborn on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The concept that started on the first album, "Tryptich", comes to fruition on this live date, and takes the concept a notch higher. Gone are the high-toned nervousness, and some of the density of the improvisations, making room for slower, warmer, more deeply felt and opener structures, and it works to perfection. Anker delves deep into the nature of music, stripping it of all its mannerisms, patterns and clear melodic lines, revealing a subtle, sensitive, melodic emotional nakedness, fragile and beautiful, intense and heartfelt. Taborn and Cleaver provide the ideal support and interaction, enjoying the subtleties, reinforcing the emotional depth, adding perspective and color, but leaving the center stage to Anker, whose calm presence defines the music. On "Magic Carpet", the long first track, she moves the music from calm, almost contemplative moments to increasing levels of intensity towards the end, but without raising her voice, or without losing the sensitivity, drawing Taborn and Cleaver into her realm of fast little sounds, who echo her, join her, then take over for two consecutive solos, compact, efficient, but great. The equally long second piece starts again in the faintest of modes, with barely audible sax notes vibrating in the air, floating sensitively, encountering their counterparts from the piano and finger-played drums, dancing around each other rhythmically, but then one without recognizable pattern. And out of this almost-silence erupt some gut-wrenching agonizing wails, slowly, plaintively, and then listen how Taborn takes over, capturing the idea, playing around with the implicit rhythm for a wild yet light piano excursion, and when Lotte Anker joins, she moves the piece back to slowness, stretching her notes, laying a quiet blanket on top of the rhythmical frenzy that Cleaver starts creating, followed in that by Taborn, leading to a strange musical contrast between the rhythm section and the tenor, the one hectic, the other slow. The last piece, "Berber", brings again this strange mixture of abstract and deeply emotional music, demonstrating that in the right hands and ears, musical purity in all its polished rawness, in all its real sensitivity, devoid of fake feelings, averse of false pretention, is not a vague dream, but a real possibility. Free form unleashes true feelings. An absolutely stunning performance.

_ By Stef


Buy this album!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IRENE SCHWEIZER – Live At Taktlos 1984 (LP-1986/CD-2005)

Label: Intakt Records – Intakt CD 001
Format: CD, Album; Country: Switzerland - Released: Aug 2005
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded live 4th & 5th February 1984 at the Taktlos Festival, Rote Fabrik, Zürich.
Recorded live at Taktlos 1984 by Peter Pfister
Grafic Design: Ruedi Wyss
Executive Production: Patrik Landolt
First released as Intakt LP 001 / 1986

Schweizer’s Live at Taktlos—taped in 1984 at the first annual incarnation of the Swiss festival bearing the same name—marked the first LP release on Intakt. Reissued on CD the album presents the pianist in three extremely fertile situations with fellow improvisers from Europe and America. Peter Pfister, most-renowned these days for his impeccable engineering work for Hatology, handled the recording and while the fidelity isn’t blemish free it still captures the players with true-to-life sound. The disc's three main pieces accord ample space for extended free improvisation, the longest among them swallowing up a good twenty minutes. “ Every Now and Then, ” a manically-paced match-up of vocalist Maggie Nicols with pianist Lindsay Cooper works as coda. “ First Meeting ” teams Schweizer with trombonist George Lewis for a lengthy extemporization that is startling in its degree of close convergence, so much so that parts, particularly the puckishly tuneful conclusion, sound pre- composed. A wealth of unorthodox patterns and phrases pour forth from both players, often at telegraphic speed, but the whole constructed from these parts never loses a guiding sense of symmetry.
Less easily accessible is the trio of Nicols, Schweizer and Günter Sommer who convene on the enigmatically-titled “ Lungs and Legs Willing? ” Nicols ’ operatic, largely abstract vocals soar and swoop, leaving pianist and drummer to shape a sequence of ground-swelling collisions, soft and stentorian, that serve as terrestrial counterpoint in a crowded exchange. “ Trutznachtigall ” delivers an even most challenging experience via what on the surface seems the most conventional instrumentation. Bassist Joëlle Lèandre brings her full repertoire of capricious techniques to the event, sawing down tree trunks with her bow, punishing her strings with chest-pounding pizzicato flurries and, if the snapshot in the CD booklet is to be believed, even playing her instrument upside down. Her gruff and often outrageous vocals add to the turbulent atmosphere, veering from banshee wails to romantic cooing and back again. Lovens’ percussive idiosyncrasies fit right in, the fractious, but precisely intentional clatter from his kit complimenting Schweizer’s frequent forays under her piano’s hood to pluck and damper hammered strings. Attaching a play-by-play to all the delirious, irreverent action and reaction ends up a pointless pursuit within mere minutes. A marker for various partnerships that have since made good on their promises tenfold, this music still packs an enjoyable jolt on par with its initial release twenty years ago.

_ By DEREK TAYLOR, All About Jazz, USA, November 2005

Irène Schweizer, Günter Sommer, Bauhaus Dessau, DDR, 1986. - Photo: Patrik Landolt

Most independent recording labels have their bellwether artists, those musicians on the roster central to the label's identity and mission. Hatology has Joe McPhee. Peter Brötzmann is commonly associated with FMP. Tzadik revolves around John Zorn. In the case of Intakt it's Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer. Schweizer has been playing actively for nearly half a century and the last several decades of her career have been faithfully documented on Intakt. Ideally, labels and artists share a reciprocal relationship. It's the charge of the label to act as advocate for the artist and the job of the artist to supply the label with meaningful creative capital. Schweizer's partnership with Intakt represents a model of this sort of mutually sustaining arrangement.

Buy this album!