Monday, December 28, 2015

JAZZ CONTEMPORARIES – Reasons In Tonality (LP-1972)




Label: Strata-East – SES 1972-2
Series: JaCo Series – JACO-1001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1972
Style: Free Jazz, Free Inprovisation
Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, N.Y.C. February 13, 1972.
Artwork By [Cover Design] – Warren Shipp
Engineer [Recording] – John Sadler
Mixed By – Les Paul, Jr.

A - Reasons In Tonality ..................................................................... 23:20
      Composed By – Julius Watkins
B - 3-M.B. .......................................................................................... 22:10
      Composed By – Keno Duke

JULIUS WATKINS – Franch horn
CLIFFORD JORDAN – senor sax
GEORGE COLEMAN – tenor sax
HAROLD MABERN – piano
LARRY RIDLEY – bass
KENO DUKE – drums, percussion

Julius Watkins / Clifford Jordan

George Coleman / Larry Ridley

Harold Mabern

Rare Spiritual Jazz LP "Jazz Contemporaries – Reasons in Tonality" STRATA EAST - JaCo Series – JACO-1001



Superb set Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, N.Y.C. February 13, 1972. One of the Great Leftfield Jazz LP of Strata East. The pure beauty of the Spiritual Jazz. Very near of the philosophy of the label with  GEORGE COLEMAN (tenor sax), JULIUS WATKINS (french horn),  CLIFFORD JORDAN (tenor sax), HAROLD MABERN (piano),  LARRY RIDLEY (bass), KENO DUKE (drums)

Rare original spiritual jazz LP on the much sought after STRATA EAST label. Sounds very much like it could be a lost session for some classic Coltrane album: the easy gait of the brass, the levitation pull of the bright block chords staggering over on the right end of the piano, the band playing perfectly in unison.  amazing how something can sound at once so casual and so spirited!



If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MUSIC INC. – Live At Slugs' Volume 1 (LP-1972)




Label: Strata-East – SES-1972
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1972
Style: Hard Bop, Free Improvisation
Recorded on May 1, 1970 at Slugs' in New York City.
Design [Graphic] – Vuca Graphics
Engineer – Orville O'Brien
Photography By – Wallace Hewitt
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched Runout): SES 1972 A S/W
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched Runout): SES 1972 B S/W

A1 - Drought ............................................................................................ 9:04
         (Written-By – Tolliver)
A2 - Felicite ............................................................................................. 8:05
         (Written-By – McBee)
B  -  Orientale ......................................................................................... 17:34
         (Written-By – Cowell)

Personnel:
Charles Tolliver – trumpet
Stanley Cowell – piano
Cecil McBee – bass
Jimmy Hopps – drums, percussion

Live at Slugs' is a live album by Music Inc. led by American jazz trumpeter Charles Tolliver recorded in 1970 and released as two separate volumes on the Strata-East label.


Strata East recordings are quite difficult to acquire, which is unfortunate considering their high quality. Charles Tolliver was one of the great trumpeters to emerge during the late '60s yet has always been vastly underrated. on this quartet set with pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Jimmy Hopps, Tolliver has a real chance to stretch out. The 17-minute "Orientale" is particularly memorable. The music straddles the boundary between advanced hard bop and the avant-garde and rewards repeated listenings.

Charles Tolliver is my all time favourite trumpet player in jazz. He is simply awesome has a full brassy tone and perfect technique yet is almost unheard of except amongst devoted jazz fans. His name crops up on a number of LP's as a sideman but it was with his own ensemble, Music Inc. that he really shines. Music Inc. were group set up by Tolliver and pianist Stanley Cowell to preserve acoustic jazz traditions in the seventies and as a flagship act for their own new label Strata East. The Live at Slugs' date was spread over two volumes. Volume 1 and Volume 2 features per three tracks, each penned by different members of the group.



Where have you gone, Charles Tolliver? There was such promise in the concept of Music Inc., and in Strata East, but evidently the music world's attention was elsewhere and this tremendous live set was probably heard by only a few hundred sets of ears. On the back of the record sleeve, Tolliver undersigned his mission statement: "Music Inc. was created out of the desire to assemble men able to see the necessity for survival of a heritage and an Art in the hopes that the sacrifices and high level of communication between them will eventually reach every soul." And he isn't kidding. You won't find a much higher level of communication than he, Cecil McBee, Stanley Cowell, and Jimmy Hopps engaged in on May 1, 1970 at Slugs' in New York City. This was much more than an attempt to merely 'preserve acoustic jazz' as in the stilted Marsalis vein. This was an attempt to preserve a measure of authenticity while maintaining the notion of forward-thinking, present-tense improvised music. They deserved a greater response than the lukewarm, sparse applause they received that night, and continue to deserve a far more cognizant audience for their efforts.

MUSIC INC. ‎– Live At Slugs' Volume II (LP-1973)




Label: Strata-East – SES-19720
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold / Country: US / Released: 1973
Style: Hard Bop, Free Improvisation
Recorded on May 1, 1970 at Slugs' in New York City.
Design [Graphic] – Vuca Graphics
Engineer – Orville O'Brien
Photography By – Wallace Hewitt
Matrix / Runout (Side A Etched Runout): SES 19720 A S/W
Matrix / Runout (Side B Etched Runout): SES 19720 B S/W

A1 – Spanning .......................................................................................... 8:30
         Written-By – Charles Tolliver
A2 - Wilpan's .......................................................................................... 10:37
         Written-By – Cecil McBee
B  -  Our Second Father .......................................................................... 13:26
         (Dedicated To The Memory Of John Coltrane)
         Written-By – Charles Tolliver

Personnel:
Charles Tolliver – trumpet
Stanley Cowell – piano
Cecil McBee – bass
Jimmy Hopps – drums, percussion




Through its duration, the music on Live at Slugs' is often riveting and incessantly compelling. Hopps is a great to me in this performans, but the other three players featured here are some of the all-time underrated presences in the jazz pantheon, and they play nothing short of masterfully. Always a presence on his recordings, Tolliver demonstrates tremendous range, flair, and command as a trumpeter and leader. Had he not come along at a time when pure jazz was falling out of favor, I have to believe his name (along with Woody Shaw's) would be every bit as prolific as Freddie Hubbard's or Lee Morgan's; the same holds for the always brilliant and expressive McBee on bass.


I feel saddened that Music Inc. fell so far short of "eventually reach[ing] every soul" - yet fortunate that it eventually reached mine.

Volumes 1 & 2 of this concert are definitely among the greatest live Jazz recordings you can hear... These adventurous recordings have the unexpected effect of reminding me of the live Jaki Byard albums I love so much because the piano is slightly out of tune and/or miked improperly.


Merry Christmasgentlemen!       Enjoy!


If you find them, buy these albums!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ERIC DOLPHY – Last Date (LP-1964)




Label: Limelight – LM 82013
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold cover / Country: US / Released: 1964
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live, June 2nd, 1964. in Hilversum, Holland.
Rare Limelight LP, in the bottom right corner of jacket states Monaural 82013.
Producer: Radio Jazz Club, Co-producer: Jazz Magazine
Gatefold cover with 8-page booklet
Illustration – Z. Jastrzebski
Photography By – Chuck Stewart, Don Schlitten
Liner Notes – Nat Hentoff
Matrix in dead wax side one: LM 82013A M1
Matrix in dead wax side two: LM 82013B M1

A1 - Epistrophy ...................................................................................... 11:15
        (Composed By – Th. Monk)
A2 - South Street Exit .............................................................................. 7:20
        (Composed By – E. Dolphy)
A3 - The Madrig Speaks, The Panther Walks ......................................... 4:50
        (Composed By – E. Dolphy)
B1 - Hypochristmutreefuzz ...................................................................... 5:25
        (Composed By – M. Mengelberg)
B2 - You Don't Know What Love Is ...................................................... 11:20
        (Composed By – D. Raye, De Paul)
B3 - Miss Ann .......................................................................................... 5:25
        (Composed By – E. Dolphy)

Eric Dolphy – alto sax, flute, bass clarinet
Misja (Misha) Mengelberg – piano
Jacques Schols – bass
Han Bennink – drums, percussion

Recorded at Hilversum, Holland, June 2, 1964 before a selected audience.
Allegedly Eric Dolphy's final recorded performance -- a fact historians roundly dispute -- this session in Hilversum, Holland, teams the masterful bass clarinetist, flutist, and alto saxophonist with a Dutch trio of performers who understand the ways in which their hero and leader modified music in such a unique, passionate, and purposeful way far from convention.


 illustration – Z. Jastrzebski / photography – Chuck Stewart, Don Schlitten

In pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Han Bennink, Dolphy was firmly entwined with a group who understood his off-kilter, pretzel logic concept in shaping melodies and harmonies that were prime extensions of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor. These three Dolphy originals, one from Monk, one from Mengelberg, and a standard are played so convincingly and with the utmost courage that they created a final stand in the development of how the woodwindist conceived of jazz like no one else before, during, or after his life.

Utterly masterful on his flute during "You Don't Know What Love Is," Dolphy's high-drama vibrato tones are simply out of this or any other world, perfectly emoting the bittersweet intent of this song. The ribald humor demonstrated during "Miss Ann" is a signature sound of Dolphy's alto sax, angular like Monk, jovial and more out of the box while he digs in. Where "Epistrophy" might seem standard fare to some, with Dolphy on bass clarinet it is based on voicings even more obtuse than the composer's concept, bouncing along the wings of Mengelberg's piano lines. The post-bop blues of "South Street Exit" is tuneful while also breaking off into tangents, with Bennink's crazy drumming acting like shooting, exploding stars. As the definitive track on this album, "The Madrig Speaks, the Panther Walks" demonstrates the inside-out concept, with mixed tempos changed at will and a 6/8 time insert with Dolphy's choppy alto merging into playful segments as the title suggests -- a most delightful track. The ridiculously titled "Hypochristmutreefuzz" might be the most understated fare in its more simple angularity, as Schols plays his bass in the upper register while the band dances around him.


 illustration – Z. Jastrzebski / photography – Chuck Stewart, Don Schlitten

Last Date is one of those legendary albums whose reputation grows with every passing year, and deservedly so. While it reveals more about the genius rhythm section than Dolphy himself, it also marks the passing of one era and the beginning of what has become a most potent and enduring legacy of European creative improvised tradition, started by Mengelberg and Bennink at this mid-'60s juncture.

_ (Review by Michael G. Nastos)


Note:
This album was also ripped via Laser Turntable, sound processing in the Studio of Radio Corona.  All tracks are placed on two channels, although the original LP monaural. The sound is perfect. Photos borrowed from the LondonJazzCollector, so, I will take this opportunity to thank them.



If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

GEORGE RUSSELL SEXTET featuring Don Ellis & Eric Dolphy – 1 2 3 4 5 6extet (LP-1969)




Label: Riverside Records – RS-3043
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation / Country: US / Released: 1969
Style: Post Bop, Modal
From the albums Ezz-thetics (1961), The Outer View (1962) and The Stratus Seekers (1962)
Cover [Art], Design – Byron Goto, Henry Epstein
Design [Liner] – Joe Lebow
Engineer [Re-recording] – Jimmy Czak
Liner Notes – Martin Williams
Producer – Orrin Keepnews

A1 - Nardis (by – Miles Davis) ...................................................................... 4:34
        bass clarinet – Eric Dolphy
        piano – George Russell
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        trombone – Dave Baker
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Joe Hunt
A2 - Au Privave (by – Charlie Parker) .......................................................... 6:21
        piano – George Russell
        tenor Saxophone – Paul Plummer
        trombone – Garnett Brown
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Pete La Roca
A3 - 'Round Midnight (by – Williams / Monk) .............................................. 6:29
        alto saxophone – Eric Dolphy
        piano – GeorgeRussell
        trombone – Dave Baker
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Joe Hunt
B1 - Blues In Orbit (by – George Russell) .................................................... 7:24
        piano – George Russell
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        alto saxophone – John Pierce
        tenor saxophone – Paul Plummer
        trombone – Dave Baker
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Joe Hunt
B2 - The Stratus Seekers (by – George Russell) .......................................... 6:52
        piano – George Russell
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        alto saxophone – John Pierce
        tenor saxophone – Paul Plummer
        trombone – Dave Baker
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Joe Hunt
B3 - Thoughts (by – George Russell) ........................................................... 5:26
        bass clarinet – Eric Dolphy
        piano – George Russell
        trumpet – Don Ellis
        trombone – Dave Baker
        bass – Steve Swallow
        drums – Joe Hunt

A late 60s issue of material from some of Russell's earlier albums on Riverside – great sides from the early 60s featuring Russell at the head of a group of some of the better young modernists of the age...

 George Russell / Eric Dolphy

If Stratusphunk (october 1960) was perhaps too academic (despite Stratusphunk), Ezz-thetics (may 1961) topped anything he had done before, despite including only three original Russell compositions. Trumpeter Don Ellis, trombonist Dave Baker, clarinetist Eric Dolphy, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joe Hunt struck an eerie balance between bebop, cool jazz and free jazz (particularly in Ezz-thetics). A septet with Ellis, Baker and Swallow recorded the complex Blues In Orbit and The Stratus Seekers, the highlights of The Stratus Seekers (january 1962).
This LP compilation features Russell-conceived three versions, as well as the three originals compositions:

From the album ''Ezz-thetics'' (Riverside Records RLP-9375)
A1 - Nardis / written-by – Miles Davis
A3 - 'Round Midnight /  written-by – Williams, Monk
B3 - Thoughts / written-by – George Russell
from the album ''The Outer View'' (Riverside Records RLP-9440)
A2 - Au Privave / written-by – Charlie Parker
from the album '' The Stratus Seekers'' (Riverside Records RLP-9412)
B1 - Blues In Orbit / written-by – George Russell
B2 - The Stratus Seekers / written-by – George Russell

A true masterpiece, Ezz-Thetics is pianist/arranger George Russell's definitive 1961 sextet recording from the earliest phase of his multi-decade career. On par with such iconic albums as Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961), Mal Waldron's The Quest (Riverside, 1961) and Andrew Hill's Point of Departure (Blue Note, 1964), Ezz-Thetics traffics in the same advanced but accessible strain of avant-garde-influenced post-bop.

Author of The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (pub. 1953), Russell's seminal concepts of improvisation, based on scales rather than chords, became the driving force behind the early modal explorations of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. This pioneering session offers a singular and visionary view of classic post-bop that is ageless in its perfection.




Russell's bands fluctuated with different players but always sounded so modern and creative but this edition of the sextet was special because it had Eric Dolphy playing alto and bass clarinet. Dolphy joined for a few months and made this album (Ezz-Thetics, 1961) with Don Ellis on trumpet, who was later to make his mark as a bandleader, David Baker on trombone, the wonderful and forgotten drummer Joe Hunt and the recording debut of Steve Swallow, playing accoustic bass make this a once in a lifetime session. Dolphy's energy and creativity make this recording significant but Ellis is on fire as well and this was to be the last recording by David Baker on trombone who, how says producer Orrin Keepnews, sounds both avant-guard and funky at the same time. Baker was playing with a dislocated jaw and right after this recording had an operation and switched from trombone to cello. Baker to this day is one of the leading educators in Jazz and classical music. Russell's piano is spare like Monk's and is so effective in solo and the fills for the horn players. The highlight of this recording is one of the most unique versions of Monk's ''Round Midnight'. There are so many highlights to this album that one should hear it all and marvel at the very contemporary concept and sound of 1961 date.

Supported by subtle counterpoint and an elegant arrangement, Miles Davis' exotic "Nardis" is given a haunting reading, reveals Russell's minimalist angularity behind the piano, while Dolphy displays a keening, expressive aspect in contrast to Ellis' dulcet trumpet.
Using the blues as a basic framework, Baker's contribution, "Thoughts," incorporates free-form sections at regular intervals, exposing the fine line between tradition and innovation.
A prescient rendition of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" acts as a showpiece for Dolphy. Opening with a free-form section of tiny instrumental sounds and highly vocalized brass effects, it pre-dates the work of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music) by almost a decade. A brilliant study in dynamics and virtuosity, Dolphy's alto solo is legendary. Incorporating intervallic leaps and register changes with a highly vocalized tone and mellifluous phrasing, he offers a definitive statement on a hallowed theme...


Note:
After 1963, Russell relocated to Scandinavia and turned to extended multi-stylistic works for orchestra implementing his idea of vertical form, such as the 28-minute Othello Ballet Suite and the Electronic Organ Sonata No. 1, collected on Othello Ballet Suite (november 1967), and especially the Electronic Sonata For Souls Loved By Nature (april 1969), his masterpiece, a chaotic fusion of jazz, classical, ethnic, blues and electronic music, performed by an enthusiastic set of players (including trumpeter Manfred Schoof, tenor saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarist Terje Rypdal, drummer John Christensen). A new version in three movements (recorded in october 1970) appeared on Essence (1971), together with the Concerto for Self-Accompanied Guitar (january 1968).


If you do not have "Ezz-thetics" and "The Stratus Seekers" albums, buy them as soon as possible. Very recommended.

Enjoy!


If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

TOM WAITS – Nighthawks At The Diner (2LP-1975)




Label: Asylum Records – 7E-2008
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: Canada/US / Released: 1975
Style: Jazz, Blues, Cabaret
Recorded live at the Record Plant and Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood on 30 and 31 July, 1975.
Design – Cal Schenkel
Engineer [Assistant], Recorded By [Assistant] – Kelly Kotera, "Big Norm" Dlugatch, Rick Smith, Ron Marks, Steve Smith
Engineer, Producer – Bones Howe
Mastered By – Terry Dunavan
Other [Instance] – Herb Cohen
Photography By [Back Cover] – Matt Kramer
Photography By [Cover, Liner] – Norman Seeff
Recorded By – Bones Howe

A1- (Opening Intro) .............................................................................................. 2:59
A2 - Emotional Weather Report ........................................................................... 3:44
A3 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 2:14
A4 - On A Foggy Night ........................................................................................ 3:52
A5 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 1:54
A6 - Eggs And Sausage (In A Cadillac With Susan Michelson) .......................... 4:16
B1 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 3:14
B2 - Better Off Without A Wife ............................................................................. 4:00
B3 - Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street) ................................................... 11:31
C1 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:56
C2 - Warm Beer And Cold Women ...................................................................... 5:21
C3 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:47
C4 - Putnam County ............................................................................................ 7:35
C5 - Spare Parts I (A Nocturnal Emission) .......................................................... 6:25
        Written-By – Chuck E. Weiss
D1 - Nobody ......................................................................................................... 2:51
D2 - (Intro) ............................................................................................................ 0:38
D3 - Big Joe And Phantom 309 ............................................................................ 6:33
        Written-By – Tommy Faile
D4 - Spare Parts II And Closing ........................................................................... 5:18

All songs written-by – Tom Waits, except C5 and D3.

Personnel:
Tom Waits – vocals, guitar, piano(tracks: A6, B2, C2, C4, D1)
Pete Christlieb – tenor saxophone
Mike Melvoin – piano, electric piano
Jim Hughart – upright bass
Bill Goodwin – drums, percussion

The title was inspired by Edward Hopper's 1942 painting Nighthawks. The album's working title had been "Nighthawk Postcards from Easy Street," but was shortened to Nighthawks at the Diner, which is the opening line to "Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)". The cover, designed by Cal Schenkel, is also inspired by the painting.

Nighthawks at the Diner is the first live album by Tom Waits and his third overall. It was released on Asylum Records in October 1975. It was recorded live in the Los Angeles Record Plant Studios on July 30 and 31, 1975, in front of a small invited audience. Waits opens the album by calling the venue Raphael's Silver Cloud Lounge...

 Nighthawks by Edward Hopper (painting, oil on canvas, 1942)

Bones Howe, the album's producer, on the recording of the album:
We did it as a live recording, which was unusual for an artist so new. Herb Cohen and I both had a sense that we needed to bring out the jazz in Waits more clearly. Tom was a great performer on stage, so we started talking about where we could do an album that would have a live feel to it. We thought about clubs, but the well-known ones like The Troubadour were toilets in those days. Then I remembered that Barbra Streisand had made a record at the old Record Plant Studios, when they were on 3rd Street near Cahuenga Boulevard. There was a room there that she got an entire orchestra into. Back in those days they would just roll the consoles around to where they needed them. So Herb and I said let's see if we can put tables and chairs in there and get an audience in and record a show.

Howe was mostly responsible for organizing the band for the "live show", and creating the right atmosphere for the record:
I got Michael Melvoin on piano, and he was one of the greatest jazz arrangers ever; I had Jim Hughart on bass, Bill Goodwin on drums and Pete Christlieb on sax. It was a totally jazz rhythm section. Herb gave out tickets to all his friends, we set up a bar, put potato chips on the tables and we had a sell-out, two nights, two shows a night, July 30 and 31, 1975. I remember that the opening act was a stripper. Her name was Dewana and her husband was a taxi driver. So for her the band played bump-and-grind music - and there's no jazz player who has never played a strip joint, so they knew exactly what to do. But it put the room in exactly the right mood. Then Waits came out and sang "Emotional Weather Report." Then he turned around to face the band and read the classified section of the paper while they played. It was like Allen Ginsberg with a really, really good band.

Dewana was an old-time burlesque queen whom Tom had met on one of his jaunts to the Hollywood underworld.

Jim Hughart, who played upright bass on the recordings recalled the experience of preparing for and recording the album:
Preparing for this thing, we had to memorize all this stuff, 'cause Waits had nothing on paper. So ultimately, we spent four or five days in a rehearsal studio going over this stuff. And that was drudgery. But when we did actually get it all prepared and go and record, that was the fastest two days of recording I've ever spent in my life. It was so fun. Some of the tunes were not what you'd call jazz tunes, but for the most part that was like a jazz record. This was a jazz band. Bill Goodwin was a drummer who was associated with Phil Woods for years. Pete Christlieb is one of the best jazz tenor players who ever lived. And my old friend, Mike Melvoin, played piano. There's a good reason why it was accepted as a jazz record.


_1.     For his third album, Nighthawks at the Diner, Tom Waits set up a nightclub in the studio, invited an audience, and cut a 70-minute, two-LP set of new songs. It's an appropriate format for compositions that deal even more graphically and, for the first time, humorously with Waits' late-night world of bars and diners. The love lyrics of his debut album had long since given way to a comic lonely-guy stance glimpsed in "Emotional Weather Report" and "Better Off Without a Wife." But what really matters is the elaborate scene-setting of songs like the six-and-a-half-minute "Spare Parts," the seven-and-a-half-minute "Putnam County," and especially the 11-and-a-half-minute "Nighthawk Postcards" that are essentially poetry recitations with jazz backing. Waits is a colorful tour guide of midnight L.A., raving over a swinging rhythm section of Jim Hughart (bass) and Bill Goodwin (drums), with Pete Christlieb wailing away on tenor sax between paragraphs and Mike Melvoin trading off with Waits on piano runs. You could call it overdone, but then, this kind of material made its impact through an accumulation of miscellaneous detail, and who's to say how much is too much?




_2.     In 1975 Tom Waits was still fairly unknown, and there was a mutual feeling that a live album would capture the personality of the beatnik stageman. This plan was executed in the best way – a concert was recorded in a New York studio. A large room in the back of Record Plant Studios was set up with a stage and tables, drinks on the house. The best of four performances are mixed together on Nighthawks at the Diner, and create a world of smoky nightclubs on late foggy nights.

This kind of control allows for fantastic sound. Engineers could manipulate the environment to their liking, and the natural balance of audience to band is perfect. Tom's voice permeates the mix just enough to ensure his words are heard clearly.

Nighthawks At The Diner finds Waits backed by a quartet of seasoned jazz cats.
The band is spot-on, playing tight, dynamic, and smooth jazz. Tenor sax, piano, upright bass, and a kit create a combo well equipped for the job. These guys were on Heart of Saturday Night too, and their chops hold true on this live effort.

Tom greets the crowd:
Well, an inebriated good evening to you all.
Welcome to Rapheal's Silver Cloud Lounge.
Slip me a little crimson Jimson, give me the low down Brown,
I want some scoop Betty Boop. I'm on my way into town...

Playing the role of the Hollywood hobo to the hilt, Waits performs every song elegantly, daubing each sepia-toned number with canny one-liners and well-paced asides. Throughout, a jive-talking Waits works blue ("I'm so goddamn horny the crack of dawn better be careful around me"), banters of "coffee not strong enough to defend itself" and uses bebop jargon to construct some memorable and deeply profound poetry, with discussions of "pincushion skies" and "Velveeta-yellow cabs" and "the impending squint of first light" and such. Theatrical piano bar signifiers abound: Waits introduces the band and drops names of familiar Los Angeles locales and eating establishments, to the delight of the game and agreeable crowd, perhaps laying the tracks for some of Todd Snider's endless, stoned preambles. Waits occasionally gets serious, as on the saccharine "Nobody" and the uncharacteristically grave reading of Red Sovine's trucker ghost story "Big Joe and Phantom 309," as well the fantastic "Putnam County," a number that blends Waits' post-Beat patter ("And the Stratocasters slung over the burgermeister beer guts / swizzle stick legs jackknifed over Naugahyde stools") with a piano melody worthy of Bill Evans...

The atmosphere maintained on this album is witty, dark, and a little absurd – really the best qualities of Tom Waits. At around seventy minutes it's a lengthy listen, especially since paying attention to Wait's words is half the point, but well worth it. Maybe not the best place to start for new listeners, but this record gives an intimate picture of one of the most unique American songwriters of the century's live personality.



If you find it, buy this album!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

HORACE TAPSCOTT / EVERETT BROWN JR. – At The Crossroads (LP-1980)




Label: Nimbus West Records – NS 579
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1980
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, California, 1980.
Engineer – Ed Perry
Producer – Tom Albach
Catalog ID: NS 579 / Our ID: 62263

A1 - At The Crossroads ......................................................................... 8:59
A2 - Middle Age Madness ..................................................................... 9:05
B1 - Ballad For Window Lee Black ...................................................... 11:59
B2 - Marcellus III .................................................................................... 8:48

Artist:
Horace Tapscott – piano
Everett Brown Jr. – drums, percussion

...Between the late 1950s and early 1970s Tapscott recorded with Lou Blackburn (1963) and Onzy Matthews (1963, accompanying Lou Rawls), arranged and conducted the music for two albums for the singer (and, later, Black Panther Party leader) Elaine Brown, and composed and conducted the material for Sonny Criss's album Sonny's Dream (Birth of the New Cool) (1968, Prst. 7576); his first album as a leader was made one year later. From 1978 through the mid-1980s he recorded for Interplay and Nimbus, two labels formed by enthusiasts for Tapscott's music. He recorded with the Arkestra, as an unaccompanied soloist, in a duo with the drummer Everett Brown, with his trio (notably a session in performance at the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, California), and as the leader of a sextet...

Horace Tapscott, piano; Everett Brown Jr, drums |United-Western Studios, Hollywood, California | April 29 and May 3, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber



For this fairly rare Lp, pianist Horace Tapscott and drummer Everett Brown Jr. play four fairly free duets. Because Tapscott has always had very impressive technique and a melodic style, the encounters hold one's interest throughout and build up logically. Tapscott's very original style is always fascinating to hear and this adventurous set is one of his better dates.


Note:
The Tapscott Archive includes both sound recordings and musical manuscripts documenting the life and work of Horace Tapscott, and the music of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) and the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA). The recordings include radio interviews, airchecks, concert tours, rehearsals, club dats, studio recording sessions, and performances at educational and other locations with PAPA, UGMAA and Tapscott's various small jazz groups. The music collection includes original compositions and arrangements by Tapscott, and arrangements for other composers. Note: The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (P.A.P.A.) is also referred to as "The ARK;" to find these materials use: "Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra."


See also:
http://markweber.free-jazz.net/2012/04/13/billie-harris-quintet-sessions-i-want-some-water/



If you find it, buy this album!