Track 01 - Confirmation - Clifford Jordan - (1982) Live at the Hasty Pudding Club
Clifford Jordan - tenor sax; John Hicks - piano; Jamil Nasser - bass; Vernell Fournier - drums
I recorded this live, when I was 12. A guy named Bob Merrill -- a grad student, I believe -- was booking great names (Hannibal was the week after this, Pepper Adams the week after that; later would see Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan and others before the series stopped. Also saw George Coleman with Terry Lynne-Carrington earlier that year). Legendary Boston radio host, the late Steve Schwartz was in attendance that evening, as well as Alan Dawson. You can read all about this on a blog where somebody has reposted all of this info and the recordings; I'm happy it's being shared, but was a little freaked out to read my own words on another page with a generated album cover. Anyway... A great night of music from a highly underrated tenor and a great band. When we arrived, the only seats available were directors chairs set up on top of a table top against the wall. Pretty cool way to experience music for a 12-year-old. Not a lot of new ground was broken in these two sets of music, but some straight ahead 4/4 bebop-inspired Jazz left my ears ringing and smiling right up to the point you're reading this. You knew I had to squeeze a John Hicks track in.
Track 02 - Uptown Conversation - Ron Carter - (1969) Uptown Conversation
Ron Carter - bass; Hubert Laws - flute; Herbie Hancock - electric piano, piano; Sam Brown - guitar; Grady Tate - drums
My Dad was always playing this for us when we were kids. It was one of the few albums (along with Return to Forever and Stanley Clarke's Children of Forever) that my sister and I would listen to willingly. To us, this was like an extension of the Sanford & Son theme. Sadly, the rest of this album lacks what this track has. Great cover, though (open it up and that square shows Ron sitting with the child, with his tremendous hands in the foreground). I referenced this in a response to last month's BFT, so I had to include it.
Track 03 - Riff-Raff - Frank Lowe/Grachan Moncur Quartet - (1985) At Brandeis University
Frank Lowe - tenor sax, Grachan Moncur III - trombone, Donald Garrett - bass, Waren Benbow drums
Now, I can't get too up in arms about the re-share of track 01 on somebody else's blog, because I found this recording on a blog. There's never enough Frank Lowe in the world, but the sound on this set is stellar. Such a unique and beautiful voice. Grachan is in hard form here, and I love it. I got to see Frank about six months before he passed, with Billy Bang. I took my Dad to the show, and he commented that, as we passed Frank and Ahmed Abdullah in the hall before the show, he made eye contact with Frank and, "It was like we'd known each other forever." Simultaneously, he said to Frank, "Hi, Frank," and I said to Ahmed Abdullah (whom I had never even seen a photo of), "How you doin', Ahmed?" It was weird. He nailed it, it was like we'd known them all our lives and were old friends. A pretty amazing night of music, though Frank played sparsely and seemed really out of it. Little did we know he was terminally ill at the time. Amazing stories of survival.
Track 04 - Jonathan's Idea - Equal Time - (2009) Live at The Barley Pub, Dover, NH, September 21, 2009
Forbes Graham - trumpet, Thom Keith - baritone sax, Jonathan Paul - guitar, Tim Webb - bass, Mike Walsh - drums
Okay, this was sneaky. This is a recording of my band from 2009. In context, this gig (like many of our gigs) was a highly energetic exercise, and the guitarist just broke into this out of the blue (which never happens), and it was *precisely* what I needed at that moment (just to relax, and try to offer some thoughtful expression). At the conclusion of the tune, I said in an aside to him, "Thank you. I needed that." Then, more fireworks resumed. I'm getting old for that. Thank YOU, Jim Sangry, for your comments on this one!
Track 05 - Emerging Field Suite: Emergency Blue - Faruq Z. Bey with Northwoods Improvisers - (2009) Emerging Field
Faruq Z. Bey - tenor sax, Mike Carey - bass clarinet, Skeeter C.R. Shelton - alto sax; Mike Johnston - bass; Nick Ashton - drums; Mike Gilmore - Vibes/Marimba
I have to thank Charlie Kohlhase for turning me on to this guy. I was only vaguely familiar with him, and when I was doing the radio show, Charlie suggested I contact Entropy Records for some material. Am I ever glad he did! All of the stuff he put out with Northwoods Improvisers is worth the time to listen to it.
Track 06 - Indigot - Ronnie Burrage - (1993) Shuttle
Frank Lacy - flugelhorn, trombone; Joe Ford - alto & soprano sax; Hamiet Bluiett - bari sax; Cyrus Chestnut - piano; Charnett Moffett - bass; Ronnie Burrage - drums
I know Burrage mostly from his work with McCoy Tyner, but also with the Bluiett Baritone Saxophone Group. This was a nice find from awhile back. Really interesting personnel. As far as I'm concerned, anything with Frank Lacy is worth owning. This cooks in such away that the heavy production doesn't get on my nerves. Moffett strikes me as what Stanley Clarke would have played like if he hadn't discovered stardom.
Track 07 - With a Little Help From My Friends - Curtis Clark - (1998) Live at the Bimhuis
Andy Sheppard - soprano sax, Ernst Reijseger - cello, Curtis Clark - piano, Ernst Glerum - bass, Louis Moholo - drums
I absolutely fell in love with this the first time I heard it. Our band has done a cover similar to this, but we've never gotten quite this feel. It's such a refreshing take on the tune, and Sheppard was a boss. Curtis Clark seems to have settled in my area (not sure if he's still here), and I've gotten to see him a few times -- always worth it.
Track 08 - Plight - Charles Tolliver/Music Inc. & Orchestra - (1976) Impact
Charles Tolliver (solo), Jimmy Owens, John Faddis, Larry Greenwich, Richard Williams, Virgil Jones - trumpet; James Spaulding (solo), Charles McPherson - alto sax; George Coleman, Harold Vick - tenor sax; Charles Davis - bari sax; Garnet Brown, Jack Jeffers, John Gordon, Kiane Zawadi - trombone; Stanley Cowell - piano; Clint Houston - bass; Clifford Barbaro - drums
So you think you know big bands, eh? My uncle had this when I was a kid (he may have actually bought it from my father, now that I think about it). Blew my mind wide open the instant I heard it. I didn't particularly care for Spaulding's work until I heard this. Thereafter, I heard everything he did differently. Seems I'd always begrudged him for the guys he wasn't instead of appreciating him for who he was. He has such control of his solo on this, and works against the arrangement beautifully. He handled the David Murray bands in similar fashion. As he aged, to my ear, Spaulding really developed a strong voice. Tolliver is my favorite trumpet player, followed very closely by Lee Morgan, then Hannibal (sensing the theme?). This is exemplary of *why*. Stanley Cowell is one of my favorite writers and certainly one of my favorite solo pianists, but here he shows just how much he brings to a group setting. The other two band tracks on this album are also stellar, one featuring Spaulding, the other featuring Charles McPherson and George Coleman. You can't go wrong with this lineup!
Track 09 - Drafadelic in Db - James Carter - (2000) Layin' In The Cut
James Carter - bari sax; Jef Lee Johnson, Mark Ribot - guitar; Jamaaladeen Tacuma - electric bass; Calvin Weston - drums
This album came out at the same time as Chasin' The Gypsy. I'm forever indebted to Ken Eisen, my predecessor in the DJ chair, for introducing both to me. Ken has great ears and was skeptical when these two albums showed up in his pile, but both were terrific. I know some get frustrated with James showy nature (me, too, sometimes), but they guy has CLEARLY listened to it all and when he's locked in, there's nobody like him. At times, though, I just wish he'd forget he's James Carter and just... *play*. This lineup sneaks up on you. Originally, I saw the instrumentation and just thought, "Oh, electric guitars." *LOOK* at those names! Even if you don't think you like James Carter, I recommend seeing him life to actually appreciate what he's doing.
Track 10 - Last of the Hipmen - David Murray Octet - (1981) Home
David Murray - tenor sax, Henry Threadgill - alto sax, Butch Morris - cornet, Olu Dara - trumpet, George Lewis - trombone, Anthony Davis - piano, Wilber Morris - bass, Steve McCall - drums
When I first heard this, I was absolutely taken by Henry Threadgill's alto solo. This may be my faorite of the Murray octet records. It's a great tune, a great arrangement, a great HT solo. Then Olu Dara reached the kid who didn't trumpet players. Enter the boss. Man, Murray's tone is just so, ****ing MUSCULAR! I always felt that this solo was sort of his moment of nirvana in this setting (followed closely by his solo on 3-D Family from the same album). I don't know why Black Saint pinched the sound of Wilber Morris' bass so badly, but the music gets beyond it, somehow. Steve McCall does his thing -- a damned near perfect track, IMHO.
Track 11 - With A Little Help - Curtis Clark 5tet - (1999) Make Believe
Felicity Provan - trumpet, Rob Armus - tenor sax, Curtis Clark - piano, Jacko Schoonderwoerd - bass, Eugene Gondi - drums
I found this track accidentally while searching for the other Curtis Clark track. I actually liked this one just as much if not more, so I had to include it, as well. I know nothing of Rob Armus, except that he really sounds a lot like Richard Gardzina to me.
Thanks to all who participated!