Friday, May 27, 2016

CHICK COREA – Circling In (2LP-1975)




Label: Blue Note – BN-LA472-H2
Series: The Blue Note Re-Issue Series –
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1975
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Art Direction, Design – Bob Cato
Engineer – Tony May
Liner Notes – Stanley Crouch
Producer [Original Sessions] – Sonny Lester
Reissue Produced For Release By – Michael Cuscuna
Supervised By [Project Director Blue Note Re-issue Series] – Charlie Lourie
Matrix / Runout (Side 1 runouts): BN-LA472-1- UA
Matrix / Runout (Side 2 runouts): BN-LA472-2 UA
Matrix / Runout (Side 3 runouts): BN-LA472-3- UA
Matrix / Runout (Side 4 runouts): BN-LA472-4-X UA

Tracklist:
A1 - Bossa .......................................................................................... 4:45
A2 - Gemini ........................................................................................ 4:17
A3 - My One And Only Love .............................................................. 3:33
A4 - Fragments ................................................................................... 4:01
A5 - Windows ..................................................................................... 3:08
B1 - Samba Yanta .............................................................................. 2:40
B2 - I Don't Know ............................................................................... 2:39
B3 - Pannonica ................................................................................... 2:58
B4 - Blues Connotation ...................................................................... 7:17
B5 - Duet For Bass And Piano No.1 .................................................. 3:28
B6 - Duet For Bass And Piano No.2 .................................................. 1:40
C1 - Starp ........................................................................................... 5:20
C2 - 73º-A.Kelvin ................................................................................ 9:09
C3 - Ballad .......................................................................................... 6:41
D1 - Danse For Clarinet And Piano No.1 ........................................... 2:14
D2 - Danse For Clarinet And Piano No.2 ........................................... 2:32
D3 - Chimes Part 1 ........................................................................... 10:20
D4 - Chimes Part 2 ............................................................................. 6:40

Written-By – A. Braxton (tracks: C2 to D4), C. Corea (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B2, B5, B6, C3 to D4), D. Holland (tracks: B5 to C1, C3, D3, D4)

Tracks A1 to B3 recorded in New York in May, 1968.
Track B4 recorded in New York on April 7, 1970.
Tracks B5, B6, D1 to D4 recorded in New York on Oct 13, 1970.
Tracks C1 to C3 recorded in New York on Oct. 19, 1970.

Personnel:
Chick Corea – piano (all tracks); celeste, vibes, percussion (tracks: B5, B6, D1 to D4)
Miroslav Vitous – bass (tracks: A1 to B3)
Dave Holland – bass (tracks: B4 to D4); cello, guitar (tracks: B5 to D4)
Anthony Braxton – clarinet, alto saxophone (tracks: B5 to D4);
                                contrabass clarinet (tracks: B5, B6, D1 to D4); flute (tracks: C1 to C3)
Roy Haynes – drums, percussion (tracks: A1 to B3)
Barry Altschul – drums, percussion (tracks: B4, C1 to C3)

Notes:
This version has 'Chick Corea' written in bright yellow on the front cover, as opposed to the green writing on Chick Corea - Circling In. Label variation with white "b".

Circling In is a double LP by jazz pianist Chick Corea featuring performances recorded between 1968 and 1970, including the first recordings by the group Circle, which was first released on the Blue Note label in 1975.  It contains trio performances by Corea with Miroslav Vitous, and Roy Haynes recorded in March 1968, and performances by permutations of the band Circle recorded in April and October 1970 some of which were later released as Early Circle.


This out-of-print double LP, all of the contents, gives one a clear picture into the evolution of pianist Chick Corea during the 1968-70 period. The first eight tracks, trio music with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes from 1968, finds Corea stretching the boundaries of straightahead jazz, taking advanced solos that hint at the avant-garde and displaying his early distinctive style. Much of the rest of this two-fer features the rather radical group Circle with Corea joined by the masterful reed player Anthony Braxton, bassist Dave Holland and, on some tracks, drummer Barry Altschul for some very advanced group improvising. Music strictly for those with open ears.
(Review by Scott Yanow)


“Circling In” is one of those thrown together albums made up of different recording sessions, and because of that it doesn’t get a lot of attention, which is a real shame because this is actually one of the better Chick Corea LPs out there. Chick has stated that sometime in the early 70s he decided to change his approach to the piano in an attempt to ‘communicate’ better with the audience. Fortunately, all of the recordings on “Circling In” come from that time before his conscious change and feature the young fiery Chick Corea who combined elements of Monk, Cecil Taylor, Eddie Palmieri and Bill Evans into one of the most notable piano styles of the late 60s. Certainly Corea continued to be a great player for the rest of his career, but his early playing will always be his best.




Side one opens this double LP set with recordings recorded in New York in May, 1968 with Roy Haynes on drums and Mirsolav Vitous on bass.  Generally these tunes are of the modern post bop variety that move in and out of free sections. The material ranges from an imaginative reading of “My One and Only Love”, to the more fragmented and dissonant “Gemini”. Side two continues with the same trio until we hit “Blues Connotation”, a fierce outside hard bop number with Dave Holland on bass and Barry Altschul on drums. The rest of side two, as well as sides three and four are filled with recordings by Corea’s short lived avant-garde group, Circle recorded in New York on October, 13. and 19. 1970.

In keeping with the spirit of this album being an overlooked gem, the group Circle is one of the more under appreciated ensembles to ever play improvised music. The music they present on this album ranges from blistering free jazz assaults, to carefully constructed pieces that recall leading 60s concert hall composers such as Berio, Boulez and Stockhausen. Having the multi-talented Anthony Braxton on board doesn’t hurt as he and Corea both are able to easily move from the bar-room world of jazz to the highest of academia without any loss of integrity. Every track by Circle has its own unique flavor and vision, and often their performance carries a sense of de-constructive humor as well.

This was one of the first jazz albums I ever bought and still gladly listen, I love this Blue Note series, has a special charm. Chick was just a different pianist at this time, and after he decided to change his approach, I eventually lost interest in his playing. Because “Circling In” is a mixed bag, it does not command a high price. I would imagine some might prefer the post bop styled cuts with Roy Haynes, while others might prefer the more avant-garde Circle, but really, every track on here is excellent.

Enjoy!


If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

DAVID HOLLAND / DEREK BAILEY – Improvisations For Cello And Guitar (LP-ECM-1971)




Label: ECM Records ‎– ECM 1013 ST
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Germany / Released: 1971
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at the Little Theater Club, London, January 1971.
Cover Design by – Dave Holland
Layout – B & B Wojirsch
Liner Notes [Poem] – E. E. Cummings
Music published by ECM-Verlag
Matrix / Runout (Side A Runout): ST-ECM 1013-A
Matrix / Runout (Side B Runout): ST-ECM 1013-B

A  -  Improvised Piece III ........................................................... 20:04
B1 - Improvised Piece IV ............................................................. 8:16
B2 - Improvised Piece V ............................................................ 10:08

All compositions by Dave Holland and Derek Bailey

David Holland — cello
Derek Bailey — guitar

Improvisations for Cello and Guitar is an album by cellist David Holland and guitarist Derek Bailey recorded in 1971 and released on the ECM label.

''One’s not half two. Its two are halves of one… All lose, whole find.''
(by–E. E. Cummings)





If you’ve ever picked up a guitar and played those short strings between the end of the neck and the pegs and wondered if one could make viable music with that kind of sound, then look no further, for that is precisely the pinpoint aesthetic captured on this rare recording. These improvisations are miniscule and entomological, whispering with the nocturnal regularity of a cricket. Holland and Bailey shift from pops and plucks to more sustained tones at the drop of a hat, but always with an ear keenly tuned to the other player. The two take full advantage of extended techniques to create a wide palette of sounds. These are delicate pieces, but no less full of verve and character for their utter precision. Sometimes the music is incredibly expansive. Other times it seems to implode, by turns galactic and subterranean. Because both musicians are so skillful at what they do, one can truly appreciate the spontaneous dynamics of their playing, the ways in which they react and prompt each other into action. They are never afraid to take separate paths, for they always seem to rejoin, and in doing so they add seemingly endless variety as the energy flows and ebbs. It’s always fascinating to hear Dave Holland’s earlier work, and this meeting with Bailey is certainly an archival treat.

Todd S. Jenkins called the album "a dark resonant masterwork".



If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

MAX ROACH QUARTET – Live In Tokyo Vol.1 and Vol.2 (LPs-DenonJazz-1977)




Label: Denon Jazz – YX-7508-ND
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Japan / Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Post Bop, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo, January 21, 1977.
Cover Design – SIGN. Satoshi Saitoh
Cover Photo – Tadayuki Naitoh
Engineer by – Kaoru Iida
PCM Operator – Hideki Kaukizaki, Kaoro Yamamoto
Produced by – Tsutomu Ueno and Yoshiharu Kawaguchi

A  -  Calvary .................................................................................... 18:40
B1 - 'Round Midnight ...................................................................... 11:42
B2 - It's Time .................................................................................... 8:50

Max Roach – drums, percussion
Cecil Bridgewater – trumpet
Billy Harper – tenor saxophone
Reggie Workman – bass

Beautiful sounds from the ultra-hip Max Roach Quartet of the mid 70s. Tracks are long – very much in the Harper style of the time – and titles include "It's Time", "Calvary", and "Round Midnight".





Product Description:
MAX ROACH QUARTET Live In Tokyo Vol. 1 (1977 Japanese, 3-track Denon Jazz label, vinyl LP featuring a great live recording from the Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo Japan recorded on the 21st January 1977 featuring Cecil Bridgewater, Billy Harper, Reggie Workman with Max Roach. Housed in a picture sleeve complete with the original Japanese insert and wide obi-strip, YX-7508-ND)

MAX ROACH QUARTET – Live In Tokyo Vol.2 
(LP-DenonJazz-1977)




Label: Denon Jazz – YX-7509-ND
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Japan / Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Post Bop, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo, January 21, 1977.
Cover Ilustration – Atsushi Yoshioka
Cover Design – SIGN. Satoshi Saitoh
Cover Photo – Tadayuki Naitoh
Engineer by – Kaoru Iida
PCM Operator – Hideki Kaukizaki, Kaoro Yamamoto
Produced by – Tsutomu Ueno and Yoshiharu Kawaguchi

A1 - Mr. Papa Jo ............................................................................... 3:05
A2 - Scott Free Part 1 ..................................................................... 16:22
B  -  Scott Free Part 2 ..................................................................... 17:10

Max Roach – drums, percussion
Cecil Bridgewater – trumpet
Billy Harper – tenor saxophone
Reggie Workman – bass

Product Description:
MAX ROACH QUARTET Live In Tokyo Vol. 2 (1977 Japanese, 3-track live Denon Jazz label, vinyl LP, starring Cecil Bridgewater [trumpet], Billy Harper [tenor sax] & Reggie Workman [bass] recorded at the Yubin Chokin Hall that year. Pasted picture sleeve with Japanese insert & picture obi, YX-7509-ND).





Note:
Nearly all Japanese LPs were issued with an ‘obi’ - literally translated this means ‘sash’ and is derived from the obi (sash) worn around the traditional kimono dress. This delicate paper strip, usually wrapped around the left side of the album cover, often contains marketing information and album content details, all printed in Japanese kanji and ~kana script. Obi designs can be as varied as the LPs they adorn, and some series’ of obi designs can be as collectable as the artists’ albums they decorate. However, not all promotional LPs were issued with the obi - the LP was often distributed before the obi was produced - it is rarer to find a promo with an obi than it is without one, especially on first pressings. They are more common on promo copies of reissue albums as the timing is not quite so important as for a brand new release so there was more time to put the whole package together. The rarest Japanese promotional LPs are those designed with exclusive custom picture sleeves, often compilations of previously released tracks issued to the media as a reminder of back catalogue success prior to the launch of new material, or an impending Japanese tour. These retrospective LPs can be the crowning glory of any collection and they rarely come up for sale. They are often some of the most expensive LPs to obtain, with prices ranging from £50 to £1500 for the extreme rarities...!



If you find them, buy these albums!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

MAX ROACH QUARTET – Nommo (LP-Victor-1978)




Label: Victor – SMJ-6225
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Japan / Released: 1978
Style: Free Jazz, Post Bop
Recorded in Lausanne, Switzerland, October 1976.
Mixed at Long View Farm - North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Composed By – Jymie Merritt
Design [Album] – Hirohito Fukutomi
Photography By – Tadayuki Naitoh
Liner Notes [Cover Notes] – Bill Hasson
Engineer – Jesse Henderson
Producer – Underground, Inc.
Victor Record Label, Catalog# MAX-6003 A-B

A - Nommo ....................................................................................... 25:40
B - Nommo (Continued) ................................................................... 24:25

Max Roach – drums, percussion
Cecil Bridgewater – trumpet
Billy Harper – tenor saxophone
Reggie Workman – bass



Recorded for Swiss Radio in Lausanne, Switzerland, in October of 1976. This is an original 1978 release from Japan. Includes an insert with notes in Japanese! First press on Victor.





Recorded in 1976, but not released until 1978 and only in Japan. This record is astonishingly good. Truly a beast of a free jazz-post bop session that features Max Roach on Drums, Billy Harper on Tenor (who's solo at the beginning of side two reaffirms my belief that he is one of the greatest Tenor players of all time), Cecil Bridgewater on Trumpet and Reggie Workman on Bass.

Enjoy!



If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DAVID MURRAY CHAMBER JAZZ QUARTET – The People's Choice (LP-1988)




Label: CECMA Records – CECMA 1009
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Italy / Released: Apr 1988
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Passport Recording Studios, New York, NY USA.
Producer [Album] – Francesco Maino
Producer [Session] – Kunle Mwanga
Engineer by – Gennaro Carone
Illustration, Cover Art and Layout by – Giovanni Fanelli

A1 - Booty Butt Baboon Breakdown ..................................................... 5:18
A2 - Thanks ......................................................................................... 10:19
A3 - Mingus Eyes .................................................................................. 8:55
B1 - Kahil's Turnaround ........................................................................ 8:24
B2 - Capetown Strut / Kwelli: Dyani? .................................................. 10:50

David Murray – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Hugh Ragin – trumpet, flugelhorn
Abdul Wadud – cello
Fred Hopkins – contrabass



".....if I die tomorrow, I would be happy with my (recorded) legacy, give or take one or two, three or four.  I've made some albums that'll stand the test of time."
David Murray



David Murray has created one of his masterpieces, in the press CECMA Records, the stunning "The People's Choice" with "Chamber Jazz Quartet". Hugh Ragin plays the trumpet and flugelhorn, Fred Hopkins is on the contrabass, often played with a bow, and great Abdul Wadud on cello.

Marvelously!



If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

BOB JAMES TRIO – Explosions (LP-ESP Disk-1965)




Label: ESP Disk – ESP-1009, ESP Disk – ESP-1009
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo / Country: US / Released: 1965/66 ?
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded At Bell Sound Studios, New York City, May, 1965.
Art Direction – Paul Frick
Cover – Bob James
Engineer – Art Crist
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side A): ESPS 1009A
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side B): ESPS 1009B

This version has BOB JAMES as artist on cover, and BOB JAMES TRIO as artist on labels. Black & white print cover, and orange labels with black print.

A1 - Explosions ......................................................................................... 5:42
         Written-By – Bob James
A2 - Untitled Mixes .................................................................................... 5:17
         Written-By – Bob James, Bob Ashley
A3 - Peasant Boy ........................................................................................ 8:30
         Written-By – Bob James, Gordon Mumma
B1 - An On ................................................................................................ 8:54
        Written-By – Barre Phillips
B2 - Wolfman ............................................................................................. 6:07
         Written-By – Bob James, Bob Ashley

Bob James – piano
Barre Phillips – bass
Robert Pozar – drums, percussion
+
Robert Ashley / Gordon Mumma – electronics [electronic tape collage]

Bob James is more known for his break-filled fusion sides for Tappan Zee and Columbia and his production for CTI than as a curious figure in the avant-garde jazz milieu of the 1960s. In fact, his two dates as a leader from this period have pretty much slipped under the radar. His first, Bold Conceptions (Mercury, 1962) was produced under the aegis of Quincy Jones upon the trio's winning of the Collegiate Jazz Festival. Featuring drummer Bob Pozar and bassist Ron Brooks, it combined post-Bill Evans textures with a hefty dose of shifting meters, plucked and prepared piano strings, magnetic tape, chance operations and unconventional sounds.


Explosions, recorded in 1965 in New York with Barre Phillips replacing Brooks on bass, jumps with both feet into the electro-acoustic improvisation field, with significant assistance from Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma of Sonic Arts Union. Their contributions are especially notable in a version of Ashley's multi-channel tape composition "Wolfman" and Mumma's assault on Barre Phillips' "Anon" (here titled "An On").

James more than acquits himself as a free player, coaxing dense clusters at both the high and low end, beginning "Peasant Boy" in glassy arpeggios that mate with the fluid, all-over lines of Phillips and Pozar. Affinity for Ran Blake and Don Friedman enter into James' approach to a sparse canvas, at once plaintive and rustling both at the keyboard and in the "guts," in conversation with knitting needles and high bass harmonics. It's not clear whether the tape manipulations were added to the first track in real time, but they flesh out the shadowy, lower-register group improvisation as it reaches a brief crescendo.



A comparison might be made to Burton Greene (a Moog and piano-string jazz pioneer), but unlike his emotionalism and folksy melodies, the Bob James Trio seems more academic in its investigations, with deliberateness in the combinations of sounds. That's not a slight—rare indeed is a successful pairing of electronic and acoustic audio collage, much less in a mid-1960s jazz setting. Whirring feedback and tape manipulation are part of the instrumental palette, alongside temple blocks, bells and chimes, ping-pong balls on piano strings, and a florid approach to "conventional" free playing.

Couple this with the fact that this is one of the most cleanly recorded items in ESP's catalog, and Explosions is a weighty historical artifact not to be missed.
(by Clifford Allen / AAJ)



If you find it, buy this album!