Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ALBERT MANGELSDORFF QUARTET / QUINTETT – Never Let It End (LP-1970) and – Birds Of Underground (LP-1973)

Label: MPS Records – MPS 15274
Format: Vinyl, LP; Country: Germany - Released: 1970
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded March 23rd, 1970 Walldorf Studio, Frankfurt, Germany.
Engineer – Torsten Wintermeier
Producer – Joachim Ernst Berendt
Fotos by Inge Werth, cover and graphic work by Günter Kieser

A1 - Wide Open . . . 3:45
A2 - Never Let It End . . . 9:48
A3 - Certain Beauty . . . 9:14
B1 - The 13th Color . . . 6:54
B2 - Open Mind . . . 4:17
B3 - Roitz And Spring . . . 7:14
B4 – Nachwort . . . 1:50

Albert Mangelsdorff – trombone
Heinz Sauer – saxophone (tenor, alto)
Günter Lenz – bass
Ralf Hübner – drums, percussion

Jazz in Germany – the 60s/70s

The music critic and producer Joachim-Ernst Berendt took an eminent position at this time, influencing German jazz mainly in the 1960s and 1970s. Without him, neither the European Free Jazz, even as individual musicians like Mangelsdorff, Doldinger and others, would have gained the importance that they have for the German jazz today. Berendt was the first and only global player of the jazz critics and producers of the German jazz scene, who introduced jazz from Germany abroad.

The best-known jazz groups in West Germany were the quintets of Albert Mangelsdorff (with Heinz Sauer and Günter Kronberg), Michael Naura (with Wolfgang Schlüter), and the quartet of Klaus Doldinger (with Ingfried Hoffmann.) Innovators were also the Lauth Wolfgang quartet (with Fritz Hartschuh) and the trio of Wolfgang Dauner (with Eberhard Weber and Fred Braceful). Musically there was a deliberate but careful delineation of the American model. With their growing popularity, Doldinger and Mangelsdorff could also perform abroad and publish records. Naura had to retire from active life as a musician because of illness, and later became an editor of the Jazz part of the NDR (Northern German Broadcast). For the GDR, the Manfred Ludwig sextet has to be mentioned,originally for a long time the only band, which turned to the style of modern jazz.

In 1965, the quintet of Gunter Hampel, a moderate Free Jazz maintainer, with musicians such as Manfred Schoof, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Buschi Niebergall and Pierre Courbois, arrived on the German jazz scene and performed many concerts in the "province". Free jazz, without compromises, could be heard from the Manfred Schoof quintet (Voices) and an octet by Peter Brötzmann (Machine Gun). Especially in the smaller towns of western Germany, jazz music clubs disappeared with the advent of the Beat. From the mid-1960s on, in the GDR, the trio of Joachim Kühn (who migrated to the West in 1966), Friedhelm Schönfeld, and Manfred Schulze found their own ways into free jazz.

Label: MPS Records – 21 21746-9, BASF – 21 21746-9
Format: Vinyl, LP; Country: Germany - Released: 1973
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded September and December 1972 at Walldorf-Studio, Frankfurt/M.
Design [Cover Design] – Günter Kieser
Liner Notes – Claus Schreiner
Photography By – Ralph-B. Quinke
Producer – MPS Records

A1 - Wobbling Notes And Fluted Crackle . . . 14:18
A2 - Grive Musicienne . . . 5:42
B1 - Birds Of Underground . . . 11:37
B2 - Xenobiosis . . . 11:42

Albert Mangelsdorff – trombone
Heinz Sauer – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Gerd Dudek – tenor/sopran saxophone, flute
Buschi Niebergall – bass
Peter Giger – drums, percussion

The 1970s were marked by the globalization and commercialization of the German jazz world. Jazz was combined with various other music genres. Successful jazz musicians such as Klaus Doldinger, Volker Kriegel and the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble followed this trend in the direction of rock music in West Germany. At the same time, younger musicians like Herbert Joos, Alfred Harth and Theo Jörgensmann garnered public acknowledgment and aroused the attention of the jazz scene with their music. It is noteworthy that the German musicians achieved an acceptance with the local audience on par with American jazz musicians. For example, the Theo Jörgensmann quartet, an avant-garde jazz group, was even in the Best-of Lists of Popular Music in the Music-Yearbook Rock Session. At the same time the German record labels FMP, ECM and ENJA established in the market. Also acoustic-romantic performances by Joachim Kühn and other pianists like Rainer Brüninghaus came into fashion. In Moers and other West German towns, festivals were held that focused on these new developments in jazz.

In the 1970s, scholastic learning of jazz was also achieved in West Germany. The annual summer course at the Akademie Remscheid (Remscheid Academy) was very popular among young jazz musicians. There is hardly a professional jazz musician, born between 1940 and 1960, who did not attend this course as a student or teacher.

After 1970, the mighty government ministries of East Germany gave up their antagonism towards jazz music, giving the "explanation" that jazz had become an integral part of East German culture and politics. But Klaus Lenz and the Modern Soul band found its own way to the Fusion of rock and jazz music. In East Germany in particular, free jazz musicians developed their own gestures and improvised first on apparently East German-specific material in such a way that the idea of an "Eisler Weill Folk-Free jazz" could take hold abroad. The self-assertion was more strongly pronounced in East than in West Germany. Among the better-known artists of this era were Conny Bauer and Ulrich Gumpert (Zentralquartett), as well as Manfred Hering and Günter "Baby" Sommer. This music resonated with a very broad young audience, and was very successful. The jazz journalist Bert Noglik noted in retrospect: "In the course of the seventies in the GDR in the evolution of jazz the Free Jazz (in a broader sense) has crystallized to be the form of the major direction of practice and its majority passes, and exists both in quantitative and qualitative respects. This statement refers to the musicians, the audience and also the organizational structure of the concert and tour management. All of this is even more astonishing when one considers that in the eastern and western neighboring regions, there always flowed a relatively strong mainstream music."...etc

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Friday, July 25, 2014

THE HUMAN ARTS ENSEMBLE – The Human Arts Ensemble Live Vol. II (LP-1978)

Label: Circle Records – RK 23578/12
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1978
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded live in "De Groote Luxe", Tilburg, Holland, May 23, 1978
Photography By [Back Cover] – H. L. Lindenmaier
Photography By [Front Cover] – Günter Voss
Recorded By, Design, Photography By – John Lindberg
Producer – Rudolf Kreis

A1 - Sequence . . . 13:20
A2 - Tiburg Centre . . . 6:56
B1 - Ectodorph . . . 7:30
B2 - Ballad . . . 7:45
B3 - Concere Natashiah . . . 9:23

Joseph Bowie – trombone
James Emery – guitar
Charles Bobo Shaw – drums

Very rare vinyl copy of The Human Arts Ensemble Live.

This is the second part of the concert, The Human Arts Ensemble at "De Groote Luxe", Tilburg, Holland, May 23, 1978, setup is now changed and we will enjoy the trombone bravura Joseph Bowie and totally distortions guitar James Emery and, of course, drums Charles Bobo Shaw. The sound is a bit dry, raw, powerful, stripped down to the core and strongly emotional interpretation. Prepare and enjoy it.

The first part of the concert you can search here:

If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

LARRY YOUNG – Of Love And Peace (Blue Note LP-1966)

Label: Blue Note – BLP 4242
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: US - Released:1966
Style: Avant-garde Jazz, Hard Bop, Post Bop
Recorded At Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on July 28, 1966.
Design [Cover], Photography By [Cover Photo] – Reid Miles
Liner Notes – A. B. Spellman
Producer – Alfred Lion
Recorded By [Recording By] – Rudy Van Gelder

A1 - Pavanne (Morton Gould) . . . 14:17
A2 - Of Love And Peace (Larry Young) . . . 6:30
B1 - Seven Steps To Heaven (Davis, Feldman) . . . 10:19
B2 - Falaq (Larry Young) . . . 10:03

Larry Young – organ
Eddie Gale – trumpet
James Spaulding – alto sax, flute
Herbert Morgan – tenor sax
Wilson Moorman III – drums
Jerry Thomas – drums

Larry Young: ''Of Love and Peace'' eight scant months after his classic ''Unity'' (Blue Note, '65), organist Larry Young was back in the studio with a larger ensemble and a bolder concept. The title Of Love and Peace may stand in direct contrast to the music within; there may be plenty of love, but on this cacophonous album of barely-controlled chaos, there's precious little peace.
Augmenting the front line of trumpeter Eddie Gale, alto saxophonist/flautist James Spaulding and tenor saxophonist Herbert Morgan, Young opts for a two-drummer approach, with Wilson Moorman III and Jerry Thomas behind their respective kits. Of these players only Spaulding will be well-known to most fans of the period, having appeared on countless albums by artists as diverse as Sam Rivers, Stanley Turrentine and Wayne Shorter. But Gale and Morgan, in particular, are players deserving of more due. Gale is a brash player who, while never recording with him, shared the stage with Coltrane a number of times, mixing a hard bop edge with more avant leanings. Morgan, with the exception of Unity , seems to be Young's tenor man of choice, appearing on all of Young's subsequent Blue Note outings and demonstrating a big tone that was perfectly in keeping with Young's more extroverted and increasingly unpredictable work.

With its duple ï rhythm, "Pavanne" is aptly titled, but it's a dance like none you are likely to hear, with Moorman and Thomas creating a scarcely-contained maelstrom behind the front line, which improvises with reckless abandon over Young's anchoring keyboard work. With Young living up to his reputation as the John Coltrane of his instrument, he provides an open-ended modal backdrop for solos which stretch the boundaries of the harmonic centre. The title track is only marginally more relaxed, with Young creating a simmering layer under which the two drummers create a certain forward motion in an ostensibly free improvisation. Likewise, the closing "Falaq" balances momentum and liberty equally, with Moorman and Thomas creating, interestingly enough, the kind of polyrhythmic independence that Elvin Jones was capable of doing all by himself. Still, Morgan contributes a solo that is reflective of the time and, in no small way, influenced by the outer leanings of Sam Rivers, while Gale is telepathically linked to Young, building screams and wails that are in sharp contrast to Young's richly ascendant chords.

The odd man out on the disc might on first glance seem to be the reading of "Seven Steps to Heaven," but the way the front line plays with the familiar theme, snaking in and out of it with exuberance and a greater sense of adventure, only sets things up for Young's solo, which runs at breakneck speed before Gale enters and matches Young's elusive behaviour note-for-note.

Of Love and Peace may be marginally less of a classic than Unity , if only for its more radical yielding to an almost stream-of-consciousness approach; but it demonstrates how far Young's conception had developed in a few short months and, consequently, is an important document of a rapidly evolving artist.


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LARRY YOUNG – Unity (Blue Note LP-1965)

Label: Blue Note – BLP 4221
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: US - Released: 1965
Style: Avant-garde Jazz, Hard Bop, Post Bop
Recorded At Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on November 10, 1965.
Design [Cover] – Reid Miles
Liner Notes – Nat Hentoff
Producer – Alfred Lion
Recorded By [Recording By] – Rudy Van Gelder

A1 - Zoltan (Woody Shaw) . . . 7:37
A2 - Monk's Dream (Thelonious Monk) . . . 5:45
A3 - If (Joe Henderson) . . . 6:42
B1 - The Moontrane (Woody Shaw) . . . 7:18
B2 - Softy As A Morning Sunrise (Hammerstein, Romberg) . . . 6:21
B3 - Beyond All Limits (Woody Shaw) . . . 6:02

Larry Young – organ
Woody Shaw – trumpet
Joe Henderson – tenor saxophone
Elvin Jones – drums


If you happened to be a fan of the jazz organ sound in 1965, you knew exactly what to expect when you stepped into a club – greasy blues, ballads and jazz warhorses played at racecar tempos.
Unity changed that. In one elegant stroke. All by itself.
Embracing modal harmony and the freer, more open structures/language favored by the rising crew of post-bop musicians, Larry Young expanded commonly held notions of what was possible on the instrument; his brisk, restless, masterfully syncopated performances on this album brought the organ into the modern post-bop conversation.
The Newark-born Young started out like just about everyone who aspired to B3 greatness – contending with the towering presence of Jimmy Smith, the trailblazer who defined jazz organ. Young learned the basics, and developed a credible approach within the tradition – his recording debut, in 1960, shows a surprisingly individual take on the “grits and gravy” sound.
Fast forward a few years. By the time of this, his second Blue Note date, Young was determined to push beyond what had been done before, and was well-equipped, from a technique standpoint, to do that. He was conversant in free jazz, as well as the plateauing chord voicings used by John Coltrane’s pianist McCoy Tyner and the polyrhythmic roiling of Coltrane’s drummer, Elvin Jones, who is behind the kit on Unity. Young “got” the new jazz aesthetic, and used both unique chord voicings and basslines handled via footpedals to create his own sound for it. Young choreographed elaborate agitations, all by himself: Starting with a terse rhythmic motif behind a soloist, he’d knead and develop a phrase over an extended period until it sent the group’s efforts into collective frenzy. His secret weapons included perpetually oscillating, color-changing chords, and he used them with painterly precision, shaping dramatic peaks and valleys behind a soloist. Lots of organ demons dropped bombs at key moments; Young’s crisply executed devices arrived with galvanic force, their sophisticated harmonies suggesting thrilling and profoundly new pathways.
From the opening war-dance taunt of “Zoltan,” written by the trumpet player Woody Shaw, it’s clear that Young wants Unity to be more intellectually challenging than the typical Blue Note blowing session.
The melody, handled by Shaw and the tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, is a study in fits and starts. Young’s jabs land across and against the beat, hinting at – but never fully tipping into – anarchy. Henderson seizes this instantly, and within the first measures it’s clear that his notions of agitation align with Young’s; his spiraling lines fit uncannily into the terse offbeats from the organ. This isn’t solo dazzle – it’s a conversation between well-matched modernists.
Young’s own solos – particularly those on “Softly As in A Morning Sunrise” and the electrifying duet with drummer Elvin Jones on “Monk’s Dream” – contrast powerfully with the fast-talking daredevil approach popularized by Smith and emulated by every other organist. Young can do that – there are more than a few breathless extended runs here – but he mostly concentrates on wide intervallic leaps and fitful, unexpected changes in mood. And like all the great post-Coltrane soloists, he’s inclined to shift tactics at will: His choruses on “Monk’s Dream” hit outbreaks of dissonant tumult and sullen areas of introspection and points along the spectrum in between – at each stop, he executes with snapping intent, an audible sense of purpose.
Anyone who ever longed to shake up a set-in-its ways tradition can relate to Young’s attempt to update jazz organ. He started with a powerful idea, blending hard bop, Coltrane harmony and “new thing” rhythm on an instrument uniquely suited to such a mix. But that’s just the concept stage. What makes Unity such a landmark is the way Young involves these incredible players in his quest – they seize his vision, then work together (hence the title) to overhaul the status quo of the jazz organ world. It’s a shame Young died young (at 38, from complications of pneumonia), because as is unmistakable here, this bold musician had a lot of upheaval in him.

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Friday, July 18, 2014


Label: Douglas – DGL 64537
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold; Country: Netherlands - Released: 1971
Style: Jazz-Rock, Acoustic, Fusion
Recorded in New York City, March 1971.
Design [Sleeve Design] – Chris Poisson
Photography By – Hugh Browne
Producer – Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

A1 - Peace One . . . 7:15
A2 - Peace Two . . . 12:18
B1 - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat . . . 3:15
B2 - Something Spiritual . . . 3:35
B3 - Hearts And Flowers . . . 2:05
B4 - Phillip Lane . . . 3:35
B5 - Waltz For Bill Evans . . . 2:00
B6 - Follow Your Heart . . . 3:17
B7 - Song For My Mother . . . 3:30
B8 - Blue In Green . . . 2:37

John McLaughlin - acoustic guitar
Jerry Goodman - violin
Dave Liebman - tenor & soprano sax, flute
Charlie Haden - bass
Billy Cobham - drums
Airto Moreira - percussion
Badal Roy - tablas
Eve McLaughlin (alias Mahalakshmi) - tambura

 Mahavishnu John McLaughlin
Jerry Goodman 

John McLaughlin: My Goal's Beyond Technically, the acoustic guitar playing on 1970's My Goal's Beyond does not approach the skill exhibited on most of John McLaughlin's recordings. Flubbed notes pop up here and there, and although this album is famous for McLaughlin's "solo" renderings of such classic tunes as Mingus' "Good-Bye Pork-Pie Hat," Bill Evans and Miles Davis' "Blue in Green" and his own wonderful composition "Follow Your Heart," Mclaughlin actually pre-recorded the chords and soloed over them.

However, no small amount of flubbing or overdubbing can take away from the fact that this album is a true masterpiece. MGB set standards for acoustic guitar playing which remain today. McLaughlin's soloing and chord playing was a revelation even to those familiar with his electric guitar style. He snapped the steel strings with the confidence of a warrior. His playing was amazingly fast, yet still melodic, and his tune selection was unusually eclectic. He was coming from an entirely new place.

The most impressive performance is the ensemble rendering of McLaughlin's "Peace One." Charlie Haden opens the composition with an infectious bass groove, and the tune features crisp, snapping acoustic guitar and Far Eastern tonal colors. Dave Liebman is especially up front on sax. Other members of the band included future Mahavishnu Orchestra band mates Billy Cobham and Jerry Goodman. Airto and Badal Roy also come along for the joyful ride. Violinist Goodman, in particular, makes some very strong statements.

So popular has this record become over the years that several labels have purchased it from catalog and re-released it. You can't kill this thing with a stick. In addition to the original Douglas 9 production, MGB has also appeared on the Warner-Electra, Ryko and The Knitting Factory labels (the latter being its latest reissue, from 2000).

MGB is considered to be a milestone in the career of John McLaughlin and the history of acoustic jazz guitar. To this day, there are many who claim it is still the greatest of all McLaughlin records. I recommend listening to this record once a month for the rest of your life.

We shouldn't forget that it took guts to record an acoustic guitar album during the times of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. So although over the years the album has sold well through reputation, it totally bombed when it was released. MGB is a primary recording for any McLaughlin fan.

By WALTER KOLOSKY, Published: November 19, 2002 (AAJ)

If you find it, buy this album!

JOHN McLAUGHLIN – Devotion (Douglas LP-1970 / Epic, Japan LP-1972)

Label: Douglas – KZ-31568; Epic – ECPN-34
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold; Country: US/Japan - Released: 1970/1972
Style: Jazz-Rock
Recorded at Record Plant Studios, New York City, February 1970.
Photography [Cover & Inside] – Ira Cohen
Photography [Liner Photographs] – Michael Margetts
Producer – Alan Douglas, Stefan Bright

A1 - Devotion . . . 11:25
A2 - Dragon Song . . . 4:13
B1 - Marbles . . . 4:05
B2 - Siren . . . 5:55
B3 - Don't Let The Dragon Eat Your Mother, Brother . . . 5:18
B4 - Purpose Of When . . . 4:45

John McLaughlin – guitar
Buddy Miles – drums, percussion
Billy Rich – bass
Larry Young – organ, electric piano

 John McLaughlin / Larry Young

John McLaughlin: Devotion Originally released in 1970 but re-released regularly since, Devotion is a hard driving, spaced-out, distorted hard-jazz-rock album featuring organist Larry Young, drummer Buddy Miles, and the little known bassist Billy Rich. This album was recorded close to the period when McLaughlin had been jamming with Jimi Hendrix, Young, Miles and Dave Holland. Terrible bootlegs exist of some of their jams, but bad sound quality and McLaughlin's guitar on the fritz make the bootlegs a ripoff.

Devotion was also sort of a ripoff. To this day, McLaughlin is angry about the way former Hendrix producer Alan Douglas mixed this record. Apparently, Douglas spliced bits of music together here and there that were not supposed to be connected. Despite this obvious problem, and the fact Douglas paid McLaughlin only $2,000 to record both Devotion and My Goal’s Beyond , this album is chock full of wonderfully ominous riffs and sounds. Devotion is an overlooked landmark album.

“Marbles" opens up the second side of album and is truly an early fusion masterpiece. The catchy hook is infectious. Years later, McLaughlin would employ the same riff often while with Shakti. You should also check out Santana’s cover version on his hard to find album with Buddy Miles, Live.

McLaughlin focuses more on tension and dynamics than on speed, and Larry Young plays mysterious and otherworldly chords. Miles keeps a constant thud-thud-thud churning throughout and Billy Rich effectively doubles McLaughlin’s themes. No slow ballads. No pretty melodies. This is just pure unadulterated jazz-grunge. Those familiar with the Mahavishnu Orchestra will enjoy picking out the passages that would later become signature tunes. Devotion is awfully messy at times, but you won’t mind cleaning up afterwards.

By WALTER KOLOSKY, Published: November 17, 2002 (AAJ)

If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, July 14, 2014


Label: hat ART – hat ART CD 6149
Series: Hat Jazz Series –
Format: CD, Album: Country: Switzerland - Released: 1994
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Digital tracks recording on May 1-3, 1990 at Radio DRS, Zurich.
Design [Graphic Concept] – Ecke Bonk
Engineer – Peter Pfister
Liner Notes – Art Lange
Photography By – Max Kellenberger
Producer – Pia & Werner X. Uehlinger

Lines is a trio that comprises of Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, Austrian bassist Adelhard Roidinger, & Swiss percussionist Fritz Hauser. On this document the aesthetics of the free approach in an egoless, commutative matter in which is both enthralling & difficult. All 7 pieces are of collective entities of their own.

The disc begins with “Open” an instant composition which presents melodic invention, rhythmic openings & walking bass lines. This piece showcases the entire trio with given solo space: an entire trio discourse, a drum & bass dialogue,  a concise drum solo & reuniting the trio with swirling madness. Everything is indeed “open.”

Shifted is an epic piece which explores “shifting” moods, textures & rhythms. At first, Hauser places emphasis on riding his cymbal with simple quarter notes, sporadic tom fills & light cymbal crescendos. Then he would play with his shaker & small percussion. Roidinger switches from playing Arco (bowing) to pizzicato. Leimgruber as well shifts from playing altissimo, screechy notes, to beautifully lyrical phrases. There is even a brief section of the piece where they play quite harmoniously. The piece would then conclude with a crescendo of Arco bass, altissimo saxophone & subtle percussion.

“Off” is an excellent example of “call and response” improvisation. The trio now focuses on staccato, disjointed playing of quick arpeggios, plucks & rapid percussion.

The aptly titled “Twisted” exemplifies a sort of approach as it appears the musicians are twisting their instruments from the inside out by the endless flow of notes & rhythms.

“Forgotten” is something of a “free ballad” if you wish to consider it. Leimgruber now switches to his tenor. (the only tenor piece on the album) It is a very gentle piece; perhaps the most accessible on the album considering he accentuates his playing in a very lyrical manner, avoiding anything in the high registers. This piece also displays Roidinger’s walking bass at a more coherent volume & Hauser’s brilliant brushwork. It is a busy piece, but never pretentious.

Another aptly titled piece; “Up” demonstrates ascension of notes from the saxophone, the swinging bass line, and the swift eighth note rides on the cymbal.

“Red” opens with light cymbal crescendos and agile brushwork; along with a slow tempi bass & lyrical soprano saxophone. The group maintains a soft, piano dynamic with a slight shift in the volume of the saxophone & the percussion, but concludes with the original given dynamic.

This excellent recording of this trio presents an ideal introduction to the various works of these musicians.

(Teenbeat, Aug 23 2005)

If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

TONE JANSA QUARTET – Bouyancy (LP-1976-78)

Label: Cosmic Sounds – CS-15 LP
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation; Country: UK - Released: 2001
Style: Post Bop, Modal, Free Jazz
Previously released in Yugoslavia on RTB label on two albums:
Tone Janša Kvartet - RTB LP 4202, 1976 (tracks 1,2)
Tone Janša Kvartet - RTB LP 4205, 1978 (tracks 3,4,5,6)
Compiled By – Zeljko Kerleta
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Cosmic Sounds
Limited edition high-quality Vinyl LPs reissue.

A1 - Yudach (Juda) . . . 15:52
A2 - Milky Way (Rimska Cesta) – Herald Neuwirth - piano . . . 8:38
A3 - Vision (Vizija) . . . 4:37
B1 - Motive (Motiv) . . . 16:23
B2 - Bouyancy (Vzgon) . . . 3:40
B3 - Sun (Sonce) . . . 9:36

TONE JANSA — Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)

In 70's Pharoah Sanders wasn't listening to Tone Jansa, neither Tone was listening to Pharoah but two musicians at two different parts of the world were creating at the same time unbelievably similar music. It is obvious where both of them got inspiration - Coltrane. Two albums that Tone recorded in 70's for RTB label are masterpieces of Yugoslavian Jazz. The third one that he did at the same time and in a same quality came out on Helidon label and is well worth checking.
Tone's music is not worth explaining, it has to be heard. It is very spiritual at the moments, very deep and soulful and sometime just cheerful and moving, giving you urge to dance or just wiggle. Couple of the tracks might sound to long for you but if you listen to them carefully, when they finish you want more and the main theme stays in your had all day long........

"Rare recordings from Yugoslavian sax player Tone Jansa - a free-thinking 70s talent with a post-Coltrane spiritual approach to jazz! Jansa's working here in a quartet with piano, bass, and drums -- and he plays alto, tenor, and flute in long spiralling solos that branch out, searching sonically for new horizons, in the mode of some of the better early 70s work by Americans like Carlos Garnett or Pharoah Sanders. "

"Black americas sound of the 70's, wasn't something that the YU jazzmen of the same period did hang on to. Tone is a precious jewel of what may be called the fusion sound of YU jazz."

"Yugoslavian rare groove. 'Vision' instantly reminded me of Courtny Pine new album, kind of soul jazz vibe going on and yes, very nice indeed. The rest of the album is very straight ahead, very spiritual, very much in a kind of John Klemmer, Pharoah Sanders kind of mid 70's vibe..."

"This compilation taken from two seminal albums in the history of Eastern European jazz — particularly in what used to be Yugoslavia — is a welcome find in the bins of the United States and England. Saxophonist Tone Jansa is a giant of a man, and a saxophonist who has much in common with both Pharaoh Sanders and the giant who influenced him, John Coltrane. This quartet made a total of five records, and one in quintet and sextet settings. But the two that are referred to here should be reissued in their entirety. Oh well, what can I do? The first two tracks of this outrageously beautiful, spiritually motivated open modal jazz is from the Tone Jansa Jazz Kvartet disc on RTB in 1976, and the last four are from the Tone Jansa Kvartet disc on the same label from 1978. There is a quiet fire in Jansa's playing; like Sanders, he seeks out the melodic propensity in scalar problems — especially in contrapuntal situations with pianist Andre Jeanquartier on 'Motive' and 'Yudach.' Both men tend to emphasize the mode inside the interval that creates sparks of lyrical fire between them and generates the most intricate of solos. The rhythm section here, Ewald Oberleitner and drummer Johann Preininger, is above journeyman status as well, but far from virtuosos in their own rights. Still they move rhythms and meters through some interesting color phases throughout this collection, turning the time against itself on 'Sun,' which closes the album so that both soloists have to reinvent the mode each time they solo. These recordings are so fine in their spiritually transcendent way, they would have been right at home on the Strata East label a few years earlier. There is no higher compliment one can pay than that." (AMG)

If you find it, buy this album!


Label: Jugoton – LSY-66184
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Yugoslavia - Released: 1983
Style: Post Bop, Modal
This record was released around the tenth anniversary of Janša's quartet; it represents the last four versions of the group.
Artwork By – Dragana Midič
Editor-in-chief – Dubravko Majnarić
Editor – Vida Ramušćak
Liner Notes – Janez Gregorc
Written-By, Leader – Tone Janša

Psychedelic Yugoslav free jazz could be the best definition of this amazing album, released in 1983 for Jugoton record label. Somehow, maybe it’s my subjective origin based opinion, but the traditional sound of Balkan is in a perfect emotional synergy with the jazz form played by the artists. Themes are  utterly contagious, while inspiring solos will fly you away into a complete trance. With such a soul given play, Tone Janša celebrates the tenth anniversary of the existence of his quartet. Definitely, a true gem of Yugoslavian jazz. Enjoy!

A1 - Goa . . . 10:36
            BERND DIETRICH – double bass, (soloist)
            GERHARD WENNEMUTH – drums
            DEJAN PEČENKO – piano
            TONE JANŠA – soprano saxophone, (soloist)
A2 - Trainin' . . . 5:22
            KAREL NOVAK – bass
            RATKO DIVJAK – drums
            SLAVKO AVSENIK Jr. – piano, (soloist)
            TONE JANŠA – tenor saxophone, (soloist)
A3 - Yatra  . . . 6:23
            ADELHARD ROIDINGER – double bass
            RATKO DIVJAK – drums
            DEJAN PEČENKO – piano, (soloist)
            TONE JANŠA – Wind [Shinay], (soloist)
B1 - Stroll And Flight . . . 10:44
            KAREL NOVAK – bass
            RATKO DIVJAK – drums
            SLAVKO AVSENIK Jr. – piano, (soloist)
            TONE JANŠA – tenor saxophone, (soloist)
B2 - Black Time . . . 10:03
            ADELHARD ROIDINGER – double bass, (soloist)
            RATKO DIVJAK – drums
            TONE JANSA – flute, (soloist)
            ANDY LUMMP – piano, (soloist)

                Tone Janša

Liner Notes:
Tone Janša celebrates the tenth anniversary of the existence of his quartet. On this record he represents the last four versions of his group, which changes its members according to need:
Tone Janša ss, Dejan Pečenko p, Bernd Dietrich b, Gerhard Wennemuth dr on "Goa" A1
Tone Janša ts, Slavko Avsenik jun. p, Karel Novak b, Ratko Divjak dr on "Trainin'" A2 and "Stroll and flight" B2
Tone Janša fl, Andy Lummp p, Adelhard Roidinger b, Ratko Divjak dr on "Black time" B2
Tone Janša shinay, Dejan Pečenko p, Adelhard Roidinger b, Ratko Divjak dr on Yatra A3

After having finished his studies in Classical music and Jazz in Graz and after his Jazz studies at Boston's Berklee College of Music, Tone Janša returned to Yugoslavia, joined the RTV Ljubljana Big Band as saxophonist and devoted more time to his own music and quartet. He recorded in Ljubljana at North German radio station in Hamburg, in Trieste in numerous Yugoslav TV and radio studios. Further he played and recorded on Jazz Festivals at:

1974 the Polish "Jazz nad Odra", in Graz where he played in the international Big Band under the direction of Slide Hampton
1975 in Debrecen and Nagykanisza in Hungary, Ljubljana Jazz Festival, Finland "Pori Jazz Festival"
1976 in Prague with Gustav Brom's Big Band, Ljubljana and Belgrade Jazz Festival
1978 UER/EBU (Europena Big Band) in Perugia - Italy
1979 Yugoslav Jazz Festivals (Maribor, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Zagreb)
1980 Yatra Jazz Festival in Bombay + an extensive tour of India Burghausen Jazz Festival in Germany
1981 Berlin Jazz Festival "Jazz Buhne Berlin 81", Austrian Jazz Days in Linz, Aarhus EBU Jazz Festival in Denmark
1982 Saalfelden in Austria, Ljubljana and Maribor Jazz Festival, Nagykanisza and Sombathely in Hungary and many others

Tone Janša is without doubt one of the most promising jazz musicians in Yugoslavia. He represents a new trend, which one readily recognizes after having listened to his music. His music is fresh, dynamic, and modally as well as rhythmically very interesting. He composes and plays his own music.


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Monday, July 7, 2014

KENNY WHEELER – Gnu High (LP-1976)

Label: ECM Records – ECM 1069
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1976
Style: Post-Bop, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded June 1975, Generation Sound Studios, New York City.
Composed By – Kenny Wheeler
Engineer – Tony May
Mixed By – Martin Wieland
Photography By [Cover] – Tadayuki Naito
Producer – Manfred Eicher

A  - Heyoke . . . 21:47
B1 - 'Smatter . . . 5:56
B2 - Gnu Suite . . . 12:47

Kenny Wheeler – fluegelhorn
Keith Jarrett – piano
Dave Holland – bass
Jack DeJohnette – drums

Pure Lyricism from the Trumpet

From Louis Armstrong through Dizzy Gillespie and the hard bop master Woody Shaw, the trumpet has usually attracted extroverts and dazzlers. Kenny Wheeler, the enormously talented trumpeter and composer, began to change that in the 1970s—his playing emphasizes softer textures and less grandstanding approaches. On the astounding Gnu High, he plays the flügelhorn, a close relative of the trumpet that has a slightly more rounded tone, and favors scampering, musing phrases over reveille bursts that scream, "Look at me!" With this record and several that follow it, Wheeler suggests that brass can sing, and sing sweetly.
Few jazz musicians treat it that way. And even fewer write tunes that demand such tonal nuance. Wheeler specializes in languid, questioning themes that practically force him to think in expansive terms when soloing. The title suite, which lasts nearly thirteen minutes, moves through long rubato passages into broken samba-like grooves and, eventually, a more assertive choppy swing. When Wheeler makes his entrance, he doesn't barge in; rather, he glides, taking care not to step too heavily on any one beat. Follow closely as he develops his solos, however: Wheeler frequently ventures into the trumpet's extreme upper register, where brute force is often needed, and somehow hangs onto his innate sense of lyricism. Believe the title: His high notes are a new kind of high.
Gnu High is also notable as the rare date from this period where Keith Jarrett appears in a supporting role. The pianist totally "gets" Wheeler's tunes—at times on "Smatter," which features a solo-piano interlude, Jarrett generates flowing melodies with such facility, you might think he wrote the tune. That's also a function of tone: Because Wheeler's sound is so warm and inviting, everyone around him plays that way too.

When Kenny Wheeler expatriated from his native Canada to England, it was not headline news. But upon the release of Gnu High, he became a contemporary jazz figure to be recognized, revered and admired. Playing the flugelhorn exclusively for this, his ECM label debut, Wheeler's mellifluous tones and wealth of ideas came to full fruition. Whether chosen in collaboration with label boss Manfred Eicher or by Wheeler alone, picking pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette was a stroke of genius. They support the elongated and extended notions of Wheeler's in many real and important ways. What is also extant is a sense of self-indulgence, real for listeners with short attention spans. "Heyoke" is such a piece rife for this discussion at nearly 22 minutes. This lilting waltz is at once atmospheric and soulful, a fairly fresh and inventive style turned more dramatic near the finish of this magnum opus. It's all fueled by the reinvented swing of DeJohnette. Jarrett's vocal whining is kept in check, as his pretty pianistics buoy Wheeler's notions in Zen inspired time and eventually no time improvisations. "Gnu Suite" is similarly rendered in an unforced 4/4 rhythm, but Wheeler is more animated. There's a plus-plus solo from Holland before the group merges into a floating and flowing discourse again in free time. The special track is "Smatter" and at just under six minutes works better, not only for radio airplay, but also in its concise melodic construct by means of the regal and happy persona Wheeler portrays. Pure melody and a repeated anchoring seven-note phrase insert sets this tune apart from the rest. It also clearly identifies the warm and cool stance only Wheeler wields, making seemingly simple music deep and profound. Certainly this was an auspicious starting point, albeit long winded, for a magical performer whose sound and smarts captured the imagination of so many fellow musicians and listeners from this point onward.

Review by Michael G. Nastos

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Friday, July 4, 2014

LEO SMITH – Divine Love (LP-1979)

Label: ECM Records – ECM 1143
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1979
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded at Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, W. Germany in September 1978.
Artwork By [Design] - Peter Brotzmann
Composed By – Leo Smith
Engineer By – Martin Wieland
Photography [Back] – Dani Lienhard, Signe Mahler, Roberto Masotti
Photography [Front] – Roberto Masotti
Producer By – Manfred Eicher

A1 - Divine Love . . . 21:47
B1 - Tastalun . . . 6:38
        (Trumpet - Kenny Wheeler , Lester Bowie)
B2 - Spirituals: The Language Of Love . . . 15:28
        (Bass - Charlie Haden)

Leo Smith – trumpet, flugelhorn, steel-o-phone, gongs, percussion
Dwight Andrews – alto flute, bass clarinet , tenor saxophone, triangles, mbira
Bobby Naughton – vibraharp, marimba, bells
Charlie Haden – double-bass
Lester Bowie – trumpet
Kenny Wheeler – trumpet

Leo Smith refused the advances of the ECM label for a few years, but eventually created this album for them and continued to record with them sporadically. His working group of the time is largely featured, along with a piece for three trumpets that puts him in the company of both Lester Bowie and Kenny Wheeler. His scores from this time were very well-thought-out and demanded a special type of concentration from the performers, moving into areas quite different than the usual intensity build-up of free jazz or the theme-improvise-theme standards of much that came before. Whether his intentions are best served by the likes of Bowie and Wheeler -- both working in an area that might not be their forte -- was a decision that didn't seem to bother the production staff, and the results are at the very least a memorable meeting of three brass masters. The presence of vibraphonist Bobby Naughton was typical of this period, heralding a new layer of lyricism and romantic beauty in Smith's music, which one would think would be perfectly suited to the ECM treatment. That sympathetic connection was never quite made, however, as the producer was probably busy finding the ultimate reverb setting for Smith's horn. 
(by Eugene Chadbourne)

Bobby Naughton, Wadada Leo Smith, Dwight Andrews - Stuttgart, West Germany, September 1978 (Photo by Fridel Pluff)

"The music I have written since 1970 represents two types of systems that I have utilized in my music; the systems of rhythm - units and ahkreanvention. The rhythm unit concept is one that accepts a single sound or rhythm, a series of rhythm - sound, or a grouping of more than one series of sound rhythm as a complete piece of music and thus need not be so- called developed further to be appreciated as a whole fresh realized work or piece, IMPROVISATION. The correct understanding of each unit is: the value given to an audible unit is followed by the relative equivalence of silence. "Divine Love" and "Spirituals: The Language Of Love" are good representations of the rhythm unit concept.

Since 1971 I have been concerned with creating alternatives for a world music, one which utilizes the fundamental laws of improvisation and composition while retaining a uniqueness of its own. I began to design a notation system for scoring sound, rhythm and silence, or for scoring improvisation, a technique I term ahkreanvention. Ahkreanvention literally means to create and invent musical ideas simultaneously, utilizing the fundamental laws of improvisation and composition, Within this system, all of the elements of the scored music are controlled through symbols designating duration, improvisation, and moving sounds of different velocities. These symbols are depicted on two types of staffs sound staffs divided into low, medium and high, and sound staffs of adjustable sound partials. Since this system was designed, all of the music I have worked on has dealt with the philosophical and technical attitude upon which it is based. "Tastalun" is an ahkreanvention piece scored for three muted trumpets, and it represents my experimentation with this system of notation. In prior years I have been able to record solo ahkreanvention pieces, but this was the first time I have recorded an ensemble ahkreanvention piece. My purpose and mission as a creative musician is to bring about an understanding and appreciation for all the instruments found throughout the world and to advance the concept of equality of both the instruments and their creators in the world arena."

_ By LEO SMITH , 9.23.1978

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LEO SMITH – Spirit Catcher (LP-1979)

Label: Nessa Records – N-19
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: US - Released: 1979
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded May 21, 1979 Van Gelder Studio.
Engineer – Rudy Van Gelder
Liner Notes – Robert Palmer
Producer, Photography By – Chuck Nessa

A  -  Images ...................................................................................................  19:15
B1 - The Burning Of Stones ............................................................................  9:47
B2 - Spirit Catcher ...........................................................................................  9:54

Leo Smith – trumpet, flugelhorn
Bobby Naughton – vibraphone [vibraharp] (tracks: A, B2)
Dwight Andrews – clarinet, tenor saxophone, flute [wooden flute] (tracks: A, B2)
Wes Brown – bass, flute [wooden flute] (tracks: A, B2)
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums (tracks: A, B2)
Carol Emanuel – harp (track: B1)
Irene Smith – harp (track: B1)
Ruth Emanuel – harp (track: B1)

"The dry and often esoteric trumpeter Leo Smith is featured with his quintet (consisting of Dwight Andrews on tenor, clarinet and flute, vibraphonist Bobby Naughton, bassist Wes Brown and drummer Pheeroan AkLaff) on the 19-minute "Images" and the colorful "Spirit Catcher." "The Burning of Stones" (dedicated to Anthony Braxton) has Smith's trumpet joined by three harpists for some unusual music. Throughout the LP the performances are unpredictable, and it's frequently difficult to know where the arrangement ends and the improvising begins. This is thought-provoking music that grows in interest with each listen."
_ By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Spirit Catcher finds Smith in a key period of his career. Having already played with kindred spirits in Anthony Braxton and in Derek Bailey’s Company, he was moving from solo improvisation to experimenting with radical new group compositions, underpinned by his own personal theories. Spirit Catcher came soon after the highly regarded Divine Love (ECM, 1979) where his muted trumpet was joined by those of Kenny Wheeler and Lester Bowie in an awesome threesome. On Spirit Catcher Smith creates contexts that are just as innovative as those on the ECM album.

The album opens with “Images,” a quintet piece which, as on the ECM album, is immediately given a cool, tranquillity by the inclusion in the rhythm section of Bobby Naughton’s vibes. Also retained from Divine Love is clarinetist Dwight Andrews; the two feed off each other and their lines interweave, complementing and enhancing one another. Throughout, the economy of Smith’s trumpet is worthy of comparison with Miles, foreshadowing his later Yo’ Miles group with Henry Kaiser.

More radical still takes of “The Burning of Stones,” on which the trumpet is accompanied by three harps. This setting takes Smith’s music way beyond the boundaries of “jazz.” Instead, this is almost a concerto for solo muted trumpet. But such distinctions become meaningless when the resulting music is this beautiful, this piece was not improvised but composed, the interactions between harps and trumpet being finely judged to display both to best effect. Dedicated to Braxton, it is Braxtonesque in its vision and its daring.

_ By JOHN EYLES (Dusted Reviews)

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