jeffcrom

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Everything posted by jeffcrom

  1. Earl Griffith, Vibraphonist

    I'm listening to Cecil Taylor's Looking Ahead tonight for the first time in a while, and I'm really taken with vibraphonist Earl Griffith's playing. His improvising is strong, and even though he presumably is coming from a more conventional orientation than Taylor (as was just about everybody in 1958), he complements Taylor's vision well. According to Donald Clarke, Griffith was born in Brooklyn in 1926. Other than that bit of information, I have been able to find little about Griffith in print or on the web. I had believed that the Looking Ahead album was Griffith's only recording, because that's what I had read. But a little digging reveals that he plays on one track of Themes for African Drums by Guy Warren, aka Kofi Bhanaba. I have no idea what this 1958 album sounds like, but I just ordered a copy from an Ebay vendor, because Earl Griffith impressed me so much tonight. Does anyone have any other information or opinions about this talented, obscure musician?
  2. The Georgians/Frank Guarente

    Anyone not interested in early jazz can safely skip this. I've just spent an enjoyable hour listening to the Georgians, a group led by trumpeter Frank Guarente, although they were a "band within a band" unit of Paul Specht's orchestra. Guarente is a pretty interesting figure, and is arguably the first really excellent jazz musician born outside the U.S. (he was Italian). As a young man, he ended up in New Orleans, and traded trumpet tips with King Oliver, who taught him his techniques with the mute. The Georgians recorded 44 sides between 1922 and 1924. They were more of a pop-jazz band than a hard-core jazz group, but they were pretty good. Guarente's muted work is really tasty, and reedman Johnny O'Donnell was almost as good on clarinet. He also played alto sax, and his bass clarinet passages are pretty interesting for the early twenties. Arthur Schutt was the pianist, and he went on to play with Red Nichols and other bands. I was particularly taken with the Georgians' version of "Farewell Blues" - slower and more mournful than the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' version. And there was plenty of depth on even something as silly as "Henpecked Blues." Guarente later became a busy studio player. I've got a 1930 78 of "Sweethearts On Parade" by Frank Gaurente and His Orchestra, and it's okay, but not on the level of the Georgians' material. I listen to their stuff on three old British VJM LPs, but I think all the material has been issued on CD on Retrieval - at least the first 24 sides seem to be readily available. The Georgians weren't as hip as the great bands that recorded in the 1920s - Oliver, Morton, NORK, or even the Original Memphis Five - but they're worth checking out if you have a taste for early jazz.
  3. BFT 181 Answers

    Thanks for listening and commenting. Many of the older recordings are available on many reissues; I have pictured the albums from which I got the tracks. Here's the first half: 1. Kenny Clarke and his 52nd Street Boys: Royal Roost (recorded for the French Swing label; from The Bebop Revolution on RCA) Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham (tp) Sonny Stitt (as) Ray Abrams (ts) Eddie De Verteuil (bar) Bud Powell (p) John Collins (g) Al Hall (b) Kenny Clarke (d); September 5, 1946, NYC Dorham plays the first trumpet solo. 2. Dave Brubeck: - You'll Never Know (from Indian Summer, Telarc). March 8/9, 2007, NYC 3. Bradford/Gjerstad Quartet: and me, me and you (from Silver Cornet, Nessa) Bobby Bradford (cnt) Frode Gjerstad (as) Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (b) Frank Rosaly (d); March 30, 2014, Baltimore, MD The unusual title is the result of the three track titles forming a little poem: Silver Cornet tells a story about you and me, me and you 4. New Orleans Feetwarmers: I've Found a New Baby (from Sidney Bechet: The Victor Sessions Master Takes 1932-43, RCA) Tommy Ladnier (tp) Teddy Nixon (tb) Sidney Bechet (sop-1,cl-2) Hank Duncan (p) Ernest Wilson Myers (b,vcl) Morris Morand (d) September 15, 1932, NYC 5. Yusef Lateef: Koko's Tune (from Into Something, Prestige/New Jazz) Yusef Lateef (ts) Herman Wright (b) Elvin Jones (d);December 29, 1961, Van Gelder Studios 6. Anthony Braxton: Composition 138A (Ballade) (from 19 [Solo] Compositions, 1988, New Albion); April 8, 1988, Cambridge, Mass.
  4. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Here's # 181. It's about an hour long. The music is all over the place, stylistically. Feel free to skip anything that doesn't appeal to you. http://thomkeith.net/index.php/blindfold-tests/
  5. BFT 181 Answers

    The second half: 7. Metronome All Stars: "One O'Clock Jump" (from The Metronome All-Star Bands (RCA) Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Cootie Williams (tp) Tommy Dorsey, J.C. Higginbotham (tb) Benny Goodman (cl) Toots Mondello, Benny Carter (as) Coleman Hawkins, Tex Beneke (ts) Count Basie (p) Charlie Christian (g) Artie Bernstein (b) Buddy Rich (d); January 16, 1941, NYC 8. The Allman Brothers Band with Roy Haynes: "Afro Blue" (from Jones Beach Theather, Wantagh, NY 6/27/06, ABB Instant Live) Gregg Allman (org) Derek Trucks, Warren Hayes (g) Oteil Burbridge (b) Marc Quinones (perc) Roy Haynes (d); June 27, 2006, Wantagh, NY 9. Teddy Bunn: Jackson's Nook (Selective 78) Pony Poindexter (as) Jerome Parsons (p) Teddy Bunn (g,vcl) Curtis Counce (b) Bryan Allen (d); 1949, LA 10. Dixieland Jug Blowers with Johnny Dodds: Memphis Shake (from Johnny Dodds: Blue Clarinet Stomp, RCA) Johnny Dodds (cl) Lockwood Lewis (as,vcl) Clifford Hayes (vln) Cal Smith, Freddy Smith, Curtis Hayes (bj) Henry Clifford (jug) Earl McDonald (jug); December 11, 1926, Chicago 11. Eddie Costa - What's To Ya (from House of Blue Lights, Dot) Eddie Costa (p) Wendell Marshall (b) Paul Motian (d); January 29 & February 2, 1959, NYC 12. Sonny Boy Williamson - I See a Man Downstairs (aka "One Way Out") (from Don't Send No Flowers, Charly) Sonny Boy Williamson (vcl,hca) [aka Rice Miller (vcl,hca) ] acc by Joe Harriott (as) Alan Skidmore (ts) Brian Auger (org) Jimmy Page (g) Ricky Brown (b) Micky Waller (d); April, 1965, London
  6. BFT 181 link and discussion

    I posted about this, but it was combined with another post. I have been asked by the BFT administrator to wait until Friday, May 3 to post the reveal. I'm ready any time; unless I am told otherwise I'll post the selections tomorrow morning.
  7. BFT 181 link and discussion

    I wasn't going to respond to this, but I'll give it a shot. Understood that everyone has different tastes, and that a majority of music listeners (or art lovers, or poetry readers) are not inclined to enjoy the most challenging, avant-garde offerings in those fields. Nothing wrong with any of that. But since you're curious, here's my perspective, with some personal history. Music like this gives me feelings/reactions that no other kind of music provides. It gives me a kind of slightly abrasive excitement, and I enjoy "watching" (that's how I think of it) the musicians interact and respond to each other. (And they are listening and interacting, even if it sounds random to you). And when the trumpet player returns at the end with the same abstract Texas blues licks (that's a hint) that he started with, I find it immensely satisfying. Again, everyone is different - but I have found that I have to understand what's going on at some level to enjoy any kind of music. I've probably told this story before, but I once had a very similar reaction to this kind of music that you are having, lipi. I acquired a sampler album on the Arista/Freedom label when I was about 16. It was my introduction to "free jazz," and I liked some of it right away. But there was a track by Albert Ayler, and I was horrified and repelled by it. It seemed like the ugliest music I had ever heard. But I was also fascinated and curious - in my case, curious enough to listen again, because I wanted to know why anyone would make music that sounded like that. On my third listen, I realized that Ayler was playing a recurring melody - so abstract that I didn't hear it at first - that ran through the piece. As soon as it started to musically make sense to me, I could start to get an emotional message (other than revulsion) out of the music. Not that you or anyone else "should" like this track, or anything else you don't care for. I've had a taste for the unusual since an early age, and not everyone does. But if you're interested in giving the track another try (and I'm not suggested that you should), concentrate on what the trumpet player is doing, and how the saxophone player responds to that - throwing it back with an even more abstract flavor. I don't know whether or not this is related, but I never liked Kid Thomas Valentine's trumpet playing until I heard Lester Bowie's. I heard a lot of the same sounds and impulses.
  8. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Yep. I love the whole Memphis-north-to-Louisville jug band scene of the 1920s, and love that Dodds fit right in with them. And as a 78 collector, I love that this side is the flip of Jelly Roll Morton's "Doctor Jazz."
  9. BFT 181 link and discussion

    It's Braxton. Sorry if my response was confusing.
  10. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Thanks for listening. I have been asked by Hot Ptah, the BFT administrator, to extend my test a few days. The May test will be slightly delayed, apparently. I will post the details about my selections on Friday, May 3.
  11. BFT 181 link and discussion

    One more week to go, if anyone else is interested.
  12. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Correct on track 2. I don't think the Indian Summer album is a masterpiece or anything like that, but it's one I always enjoy when I play it. The slightly melancholy, bittersweet flavor is consistent through the album, which was his final studio recording, I believe. It feels like a valedictory look back on his life. The last time I saw Braxton play solo was a couple of years ago, when he was artist-in-residence for a couple of weeks at the University of Alabama. I judged the audience at his opening solo concert to be 1/3 excited Braxton fans, 1/3 curious music lovers, and 1/3 music students trying to fulfill their concert attendance requirements. I wondered how the last two groups would respond to the concert, but Braxton's programming was masterful. He started with a lyrical ballad like this, then moved on to a fast, technically impressive virtuoso piece. After those two selections, the audience was with him, and stayed with him when he started playing abrasive multiphonics and such. Yes - all solo readings of standards.
  13. BFT 181 link and discussion

    This session is pretty much a mess, but it's kind of a glorious mess. I included what I think is the best selection. Some of the other tracks really sound unfinished. But I love anything with Sonny Boy, and have always enjoyed Joe Harriot just going for it on this track.
  14. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Um, I'd say that it's beyond a good Sonny Boy Williamson imitation. Like, the best possible. Literally. And yes, the organ sounds like a Vox or some other combo organ to me.
  15. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Since there has been a fair amount of Allman Brothers discussion in this thread, I'll throw in a correction. Dickey Betts and Derek Trucks did play together in the ABB for a short time when Trucks first joined the band. (Haynes had left to form Gov't Mule.) There's even an album - Peakin' at the Beacon, recorded at the Beacon Theatre in March, 2000. This was when Betts was getting more and more erratic and his playing getting sloppier; his Beacon performances were so bad that they led the other founding members to disinvite him from the spring/summer tour. Jimmy Herring filled in for a short time, then Warren Haynes came back to complete the final lineup of the band. Peakin' at the Beacon is so bad that I once wondered why the band released it. Not only are Betts' solos substandard, but he is unable to play some of the ensemble parts correctly - parts he must have played thousands of times. I think the album is the band's explanation to the fans of why they let Dickey go: "This is what we were dealing with."
  16. BFT 181 link and discussion

    Yes - the Metronome All-Stars. I won't add any other details now in case someone else wishes to do so. Yes on tracks 1 & 4; no on track 11. When someone who owns that album hears that track, they'll know it right away. Yes, it's the Allman Brothers Band, but with a guest drummer in place of Butch Trucks and Jaimoe.
  17. What vinyl are you spinning right now??

    Q Hamiet Bluiett Quartet - S.O.S. (India Navigation)
  18. What vinyl are you spinning right now??

    I'm tickled that someone else here has this very interesting record. Inspired by Max Harrison's praise, I tracked down the American Serenus issue a few years back: NP: Ray Charles - The Genius Sings the Blues (Atlantic mono)
  19. BFT 180 answers

    I listened and enjoyed, but have been so busy that I never got around to writing up my thoughts. I recognized only David Murray, Wayne Shorter, and Lonnie Smith. I really enjoyed "I Remember April."
  20. What vinyl are you spinning right now??

    Horace Silver - Serenade to a Soul Sister (BN promo)
  21. What vinyl are you spinning right now??

    Chick Corea/Miroslav Vitous/Roy Haynes - Trio Music (ECM) Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh/Al Levitt/Peter Ind - London Concert (Wave) I'm wary of post-Circle Corea, but I like this trio. The Wave album is superb.