JohnJ

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Everything posted by JohnJ

  1. Larry, by coincidence I was listening to a double CD set last night called 'Historically Speaking' by the Clarke-Boland Big Band. This is a German release and as part of the lengthy notes are various reviews including a very informative one by yourself from Downbeat. I look forward to the book.
  2. There is a Japanese rock group named after the song "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss her'. Needless to say, most people find their name distinctly odd.
  3. johnny cash box

    Dmitry, I would recommend trying the first 'American Recordings' CD as a prime example of late Johnny Cash. Powerful stuff. For earlier Cash, 'The Sun Years' CD contains the classic versions of many of his best songs. The justifiably famous prison concerts, 'Live at Folsom Prison/San Quentin' are also well worth checking out. The song "San Quentin" always sends chills down my spine.
  4. Miles Davis

    I have the Japanese version of the Miles Prestige box which I am pretty sure is K2 remastered. Is the U.S. box not the same?
  5. Today's Tenors

    Being British, I would like to mention Tommy Smith. I would recommend both 'Standards' and the Ellington tribute 'Sounds of Love', very enjoyable although both are on the mellow side.
  6. Kenny Clarke Francy Boland : Golden Eight

    Thanks Mike, I will buy it today (assuming it is still there!). The price had been marked down to less than $20, so pretty reasonable I guess.
  7. Kenny Clarke Francy Boland : Golden Eight

    I have read a few complementary articles about the CBBB and am interested in listening to some of their work. Anyway, I saw a used double CD set called 'Historically Speaking' in a long metal box with no information on the outside other than the label name (ECCM, I think) and address in Cologne and the fact that it is a limited edition of 1,000. As I am unable to find any information regarding the contents of this set I was wondering whether anyone could kindly provide any information on the music contained. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  8. has the board been runnin' ssssllllooooowww

    I suspect that one reason they deleted it is that it was the most active thread for a couple of days. Kind of says something about the level of activity on AAJ these days.
  9. Barney Wilen

    I was fortunate enough to see a used copy of 'Paris Moods' for 500 yen (a little below $5) in Disk Union recently. I really enjoy this CD and will look for more of the Wilen recommended on this thread.
  10. Wayne Shorter (London)

    Wayne is in Tokyo, for one night only, on Monday. Sounds as though I should try and get to the concert.
  11. Now reading...

    Dmitry, 'Le Grand Meaulnes' is one of my favourite novels. Very haunting. Currently reading 'Sputnik Sweetheart' by Haruki Murakami. Wonderful, as always. Any other Murakami fans out there?
  12. Andy Bey

    PARIS There was a time when Andy Bey was known for his bitterness and anger. Calming down has been hard work. . Bey's silky bass-baritone voice has become one of the finest instruments in jazz, and he exhibited his musicianship in Paris last week at the Sunside club. Intonation and pronunciation were impeccable. His texture resonated. He sings with an intimacy and grace that reminds people of Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole. . Cole was Bey's role model. "Dealing with what I still have to deal with now," he said, "and knowing what cats had to go through in those days, it humbles me when I remember how many doors Nat opened for so many of us." . As a child prodigy in Newark, New Jersey, Bey was playing boogie-woogie on the piano by the age of 3, and he sang "Caldonia" ("What makes your big head so hard?") when he was 5. He performed at the Apollo Theater amateur night and was on "The Star Time Kids" on television before he was 18. Now 64, Bey has acquired a reputation for going in and out of focus. . His trio, Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters, with his sisters Geraldine and Salome, worked in Europe in the 1950's and 1960's. He resurfaced in New York in the 1980's singing with McCoy Tyner, Lonnie Liston Smith, Eddie Harris, Gary Bartz and others. . Three years as a vocal instructor in Austria were followed by one "comeback" album after another - "Ballads, Blues Bey" in 1996, "Shades of Bey" in 1998, "Tuesdays in Chinatown" (with Ron Carter) in 2001. . "People are telling me," he said, "that 'it's good your career is on the rise and you're finally making it,' but I often wonder what being 'discovered' means. I never went anywhere. It's not like I was ever driven to be rich or a star. There are still times when I have no work." . Last year, Bey went to a friend's studio in Augsburg, Germany, and spent several nights at the piano recording 25 standards. Ten of them - including "Sophisticated Lady," "There's a Song in My Heart" and "There Will Never Be Another You" - are on his recent CD "Chillin' With Andy Bey" (Minor Music/Germany). Listening to it, you can imagine someone working on a high wire - stretching out, leaning back, always managing to recover his balance. . Investing heavily in each song, he tells their stories as to an old friend. Vocal variations are interwoven with his eccentric Monkish accompaniment. Bey began to look into the harmonies of Bartok and Stravinsky in high school, and he is no longer satisfied to be locked into the standard chord changes of standards. He looks for new dissonance based on the 12-tone scale, or he will add a triad based on the flatted ninth of the chord. . A new album, "The American Song," on which he is accompanied by a horn section, is scheduled to be released by Savoy in the United States in late February. Meanwhile, "Chillin' With Andy Bey" still has no American distributor. He has had problems in general with American distribution, though he lives in New York. Fortunately, Europe is better. . "There are still issues in this business in America," he explained. "But I don't want to harp on that because I've come to realize that the important thing is to keep moving on. The older I get the calmer I get. I've begun to understand my aggression. I think I'm getting smarter, and I know I'm singing better." . One of the "issues" to which Bey was referring was racism. In addition, he is male and no longer young. There are not many major male jazz singers of any age or color these days (Jon Hendricks, Kurt Elling, David Linx, and a few others). . On the other hand, starting with Norah Jones, there have been more and more albums by attractive young women. Their number alone reflects the increasing emphasis on youth and skin-deep beauty in American culture. Looking young and pretty (well-dressed comes third) wins a lot of points in the music business. An attractive journeywoman will be marketed with more enthusiasm than an older virtuoso who suffers from what Bey calls the "black male vocalist syndrome." . The music industry has long been uncomfortable with and somehow threatened by white women listening to love songs sung by velvet-voiced black crooners such as Billy Daniels and Johnny Hartman. Bey insisted that the business "hasn't really changed all that much." He added, "If Diana Krall was black, she would definitely have more problems than she has now, and if I was white it would certainly be easier. But I've been trying to find a way to get past all that." . He keeps reminding himself to be grateful. "Did you know that gratefulness helps get rid of fear?" he asked, without waiting for an answer. "I'm so grateful to be able to do what I love, to have a purpose in life. I could go on crying 'Black Power' and pointing my finger at things that make me angry, but I would only be defeating myself. I'll be the one who gets bitter. You have to try and control your passion." . International Herald Tribune Mike Zwerin
  13. Jeep's box

    I was surprised to see this set in HMV at 50% off during their new year sale. Needless to say I bought it and I have to say it has been a revelation to me as it has made me fully appreciate the genius of Johnny Hodges. I would recommend this very highly to anyone.
  14. Would you care to translate that Conn? My trips were generally quite brief and I never did pick up much Thai, beyond the usual bar girl talk.
  15. Conn, I have to confess that I have been a frequent visitor to Thailand over the years, love the place. Also lived in Manila for a year or more back in the days when Ermita was still thriving. That was wild.
  16. Deep, gotta agree 100% with your last post. I got bitten by the Asian bug big time when I first came to Tokyo more than 20 years ago. When my company sent me back to England I just could not readjust to life back in the west. I quit and came back east, found another job and married a lovely local. The Japanese women are very understanding of the varied needs of men.
  17. The following is a rather long but interesting article (well I thought so) on the effect that Norah's success has had on the music industry, and on perceptions of jazz, in the U.K. Keeping up with Jones Jazz? Pop? Soul? It really doesn't matter any more. Norah Jones's phenomenal success has blurred music's traditional categories and opened the way for a stream of young, gifted and British divas Neil Spencer Sunday January 18, 2004 The Observer Some acts change pop through their music, some through sheer chutzpah - haircut, attitude, showmanship - and some by the simple scale of their success. No prizes for guessing into which category Norah Jones belongs. Lovely and languorous though her voice and looks are, no one has yet branded the 24-year-old singer as a musical revolutionary. Au contraire, Jones's ascent to megastardom has been built on the most traditional of virtues - wistful melodies, understated playing and singular, engaging vocals. Come Away With Me - Jones's solitary, Grammy-strewn album, its sales now upwards of 17 million - included numbers from the 1940s (by Hoagy Carmichael and Hank Williams) alongside its original songs, and delivered the lot in the breathless style of a 1950s jazz chanteuse. Jones herself remains the paradigm of unpretentiousness. Forget bling - Norah scarcely wears make-up - and forget hanging with the Hollywood in-crowd - she lives quietly with her boyfriend, Lee Alexander, who is also her co-writer and bass player. If you live in a nice neighbourhood, she's the girl next door writ large. None the less, the pop world now is indisputably a post-Norah realm, one unimaginable two years back when Come Away With Me arrived to widespread but muted acclaim. Despite the record-breaking eight Grammys heaped on it, the record's success owes more to public approval than record company hype; no one, least of all its creator, seems to have imagined it would become a runaway hit. According to its producer, Arif Mardin, the album marked a sea change in attitudes. 'People were ready for heartfelt music. Norah is in the vanguard of another kind of pop music listeners have been yearning for. We're now in a period where listeners are looking for real artists.' Mardin, whose illustrious career stretches back to Aretha Franklin and the Bee Gees, is not just indulging in wishful thinking. Evidence of the 'Norah Jones effect' is everywhere, especially in the hothouse of British pop, where smoky-voiced sirens delivering a mix of originals and classics are now what presses the buttons of radio's playlist compilers and record-company A&R men. Jazz influences, no longer commercial poison, are almost de rigueur. The spectrum of newcomers is wide, from squeaky popsters such as Erin Rocha to jazz sophisticats like Gwyneth Herbert, but the sense of a seismic shift in industry attitudes and public taste is compelling. The nominees for this year's Brit Awards include three solo vocalists - Jamie Cullum, Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua - who arguably wouldn't be in contention but for the Norah effect. It isn't that any of this talented trio has modelled themselves directly on Ms Jones - don't worry, each of them has a life - but that the music business now conceptualises young contenders in the light of her success. If you're a talented singer, a bit jazzy, a bit soulful, and mindful of tradition, then you're in Norah's shadow, like it or not. Apart from a few bruises on your artistic ego, what's not to like? The Norah effect means there is now a simpatico media ear and a marketing strategy which weren't there in the dark age of manufactured idolatry from which Britpop (oops) is now dragging itself. Some unlikely tastemakers are involved. Nineteen-year-old Melua, a fame-school graduate whose mentor is veteran producer and Womble-in-chief Mike Batt, had her debut album, Call Off the Search , championed by Terry Wogan on his Radio 2 show. The station, whose star has grown brighter as Radio 1's has dimmed, is now an influential force in breaking acts and hits. The Christmas number one, Gary Jules's 'Mad World', is a case in point. The cult of Eva Cassidy (Melua's personal hero) was also a Wogan creation. Another warhorse of the airwaves, Michael Parkinson, triggered a bidding war for Jamie Cullum after featuring the impish jazz vocalist on his Saturday-night TV show last year. The subsequent £1m deal with Universal already looks like good business, with sales of half a million in the bag for Cullum's Twentysomething album, and the lucrative markets of Japan and the US yet to be prised open. Cul lum's radical, beat-laden remake of 'I Could Have Danced All Night' is a long way from Norah's weepy piano balladry, but it's hard to imagine a major label having got behind him without her commercial precedent. 'An untapped market has opened up,' says Universal's jazz marketing product manager, Dionne Clarke. 'Previously, a jazz act would sell 10,000 copies top.' Other radio stations, like London's Jazz FM, which have an affluent thirty- and fortysomething audience as their target, have helped foster the new outlook. If their constituency digs Norah, why not some other intelligent, downbeat diva? Tanto Tempo, the 2001 debut from Brazilian Bebel Gilberto, has had a parallel career to Come Away With Me. Its lilting update of samba tradition started with critical acclaim before growing into an unexpected international audience. Now the most successful Brazilian breakout in history, with a million-plus sales, the album has been almost as constant a feature of Jazz FM's weekly Top 20 (hosted by another veteran, Paul Gambaccini) as Come Away With Me. It would be a mistake, however, to think of the Norah effect as merely old-timers' revenge on a flagging pop scene. As Gambaccini puts it: 'It can't just be housewives buying all those Norah Jones records.' Indeed, one of the most striking features of the nouveau traditionalists is their youth: 16-year-old Erin Rocha was on work experience in a Hampshire studio when she found herself called on to voice 'Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong', a lilting ballad that was to be pitched at Ms Jones herself. Instead, Rocha's version was scooped on to Radio 2's 'A' list. Now signed to EMI, Rocha is making her debut album. Another 16-year-old is Joss Stone, though she sounds more like a 40-year-old Southern belle with a few too many affairs to her credit than a teenager just out of a north Devon comprehensive. Stone's justly acclaimed debut, The Soul Sessions, which was recorded in Florida's celebrated TK studios, convincingly revisits the Seventies heyday of TK stars like Betty Wright and Timmy Thomas, who play on the album. To remind us that she's a child of her time, Stone (real name Jocelyn Staller) throws in a smouldering funk version of a White Stripes song, 'Fell in Love With a Boy', which is surely destined to become a hit this year. A blend of classic and contemporary is one aspect of the Norah effect. Take First Songs, the opening salvo from 21-year-old jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert and her guitarist sidekick, Will Rutter. While happy to return, one more time, to Gershwin, the pair also stir Mama Cass and Elvis Costello into the mix alongside their own compositions. The jazz establishment remains as wary as ever of invasions of its hallowed canon - eyebrows arched when jazz diva supreme Cassandra Wilson covered Neil Young and the Monkees a few years back, and hardliners aren't wild about Cullum's taste for Jimi Hendrix, either. Jones, along with the likes of Diana Krall, has been labelled 'almost jazz' and 'dinner jazz', in case those millions of fans get uppity ideas about what they're enjoying. Yet part of the Norah effect has been to move the parameters of 'jazz' beyond the reach of its self-appointed guardians. A case in point is singer Amy Winehouse, a feisty 20-year-old Londoner who is arguably the most precociously gifted of the UK's post-Norah crop, and whose debut, Frank, has won her two Brits nominations. With a Sinatra-loving father - one reason for her album's title, the other being her lacerating honesty - Winehouse's style reflects an upbringing absorbing Billie Holiday's moan and Sarah Vaughan's scat, though modern R&B divas like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu are also a clear influence. Winehouse's abrasive look at modern romance is a tumble of tough and tender which spills into hilarity on 'Fuck Me Pumps', a caustic commentary on the shallow celebrity culture of Heat and Footballers' Wives. If there is any justice at the Brits (stop laughing at the back), Winehouse will pick up a gong, either for the mysterious category Best Urban Artist (who, save Highland folkies, does that rule out?) or British Female Solo Artist, where she is up against Dido, whose own success prompted speculation that we are moving into an era of 'easy listening'. So far, the new mood embodied by Norah and her contemporaries has escaped easy definition. A good thing too, according to broadcaster Gilles Peterson, an early champion of Winehouse on his eclectic Radio 1 show, Worldwide. 'The moment you put a label on music, especially "jazz" or "world", people start turning off,' he says. 'I find I can play more adventurous things than ever, whether it's Sun Ra or Amy; as long as you don't use the "J" word, people are interested.' With the Norah effect melting the barriers between generations and genres, 'pop' and 'serious', twenty-first-century music is proving a surprising place. Perhaps Mardin's 'heartfelt music' is the phrase closest to describing what's happening. The top-down approach that has given us plastic fodder like Hear'Say and the rest won't disappear, but to judge by Joss Stone, who emerged via BBC TV's Star For a Night, even tacky talent shows can bring forth talent. Norah herself will doubtless be back atop the charts next month when her second album, Feels Like Home, is released. Considering her megastardom, her profile has remained remarkably low, the most newsworthy item about her being the media's discovery that her father is sitar star, Ravi Shankar, Norah being the result of his nine-year affair with New York dancer, Sue Jones. A subsequent affair with his tanpura player, Sukanya Rajan, produced another daughter, Anoushka, two years later. After Shankar married Sukanya in 1989, he lost touch with Norah (whose Indian name is Geetali, meaning musical bee). The Joneses relocated to Texas, where Norah later learned her trade playing piano bars. After Norah became famous, father and daughter were reunited, though it's half-sister Anoushka, a sitar prodigy who is heir apparent to Shankar's crown, with whom Norah has forged the closest link. The two independently famous half-sisters have become confidantes, even sporting the same star-shaped tattoo on their backs. Talk of a musical collaboration is brushed aside, but don't be surprised if Norah extends her genre-hopping eastwards. Unsurprisingly, Jones's new record carries on where Come Away With Me left off. It's more country-hued - Dolly Parton guests and there's a song by late Texan troubadour Townes Van Zandt - but otherwise the same spartan sensuality prevails. Call it almost jazz, easy listening or just plain pop (and if 17 million sales aren't pop, what is?) but it is heartfelt. It's the Norah effect. · Norah Jones's Feels Like Home is released on Parlophone/Blue Note on 9 February
  18. When it comes to women, I am in total agreement with Deep and Conn. That's the main reason I have stayed in Tokyo all these years (the jazz CD availability being a distant second).
  19. Sonny Rollins help

    Well, I have a TOCJ and the sound is pretty good to my non-audiophile ears. The TOCJ I have is none of the those mentioned above but rather a best of version of all three volumes.
  20. Ebay Steals

    Good deals can most definitely be had, you just have to be disciplined and patient. Also, the best bargains often occur when the seller does not correctly or fully describe the item they are selling. I picked up the third and last Rosemary Clooney Bear Family Box for a little over $30 on eBay UK from a seller that did not mention Bear Family in the listing or provide a photograph. This usually sells for over $100.
  21. Another workout.

    Yeah, just keep looking. I picked up a copy for around $12 at a used store in Tokyo recently.
  22. Clementine, much as I like John Cale, and agree he has written some really good songs, nothing he has written compares with Lou's Velvet's output. Remember that almost all of the classics, from 'Waiting for the Man' to 'Sweet Jane' were written by Lou Reed. There are at least half a dozen that are among the greatest rock songs ever.
  23. Well, The Velvet Underground were primarily Lou's baby. Their four studio albums are, in my opinion anyway, among the truly essential recordings of the rock era. As for his solo stuff, well true it is pretty hit and miss. At its best though, on albums such as Transformer, Berlin, the Blue Mask and New York it is only a small step down from the brilliance of the Velvet's. Obvioulsly I am a fan, but I really think he is one of the most important figures in the history of rock music.
  24. Meanwhile, Mike Zwerin's always interesting (only partly jazz) choices are as follows: Recordings from the margins of pop music Mike Zwerin IHT Wednesday, December 17, 2003 PARIS Here are some holiday gift suggestions of recent recordings from the margins of popular music, which is herein defined as music other than "serious" music. This may be the least popular "popular" music you'll ever hear. The margin is not a bad place to be. . "THE SOUL OF A MAN"(Columbia/$ Legacy): The well-produced soundtrack from Wim Wenders's 2003 film about the blues is an eccentrically authentic combination of old and new, acoustic and electric, male and female, and black and white. Cassandra Wilson, Eagle-Eye Cherry, T-Bone Burnett, Lou Reed, Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Blind Willie Johnson, J.B. Lenoir and Skip James sing blues songs by Johnson, Lenoir and James. . BA CISSOKO"Sabolan" (Marabi/$ Melodie): So-called world music can be either too esoteric to be popular or too popular to be taken seriously. Ba Cissoko is in the sweet spot. Koras, guitars, percussion and keyboards are played by four young Guineans of griot descent who live in Marseille and were trained in Conakry by the kora master M'bady Kouyate. Accompanied by caustic urban grooves that have been likened to Mory Kante, they sing about ancient Mandingo sagas and contemporary alienation. . PAT MARTINO"Think Tank" (Blue Note): At the age of 34, a brain tumor caused Pat Martino to lose his memory. He asked himself what all those guitars were doing in his house and he learned to play them all over again and there has ever since been a special spirituality about him. In homage to John Coltrane, "Think Tank" is one of his best albums, and the band - Joe Lovano, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Christian McBride and Lewis Nash - may just be the band of the year. . ROBERT WYATT"Cuckooland" (Hannibal/Ryko): More grainy, mournful, childlike songs and singing by the ex-Soft Machine drummer and enduring cult hero. Wyatt is a sort of homemade John Lennon. (Two of his previous albums are named "The End of an Ear" and "Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard.") Guests include David Gilmour and Brian Eno, and Wyatt has learned to play the trumpet, sounding, not surprisingly, like Chet Baker. . GREG OSBY"St. Louis Shoes" (Blue Note): As the title, which deserves a prize, implies, this album is based on tradition and takes off from such standards as "St. Louis Blues," "Bernie's Tune" and "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" in marvelous new ways. The irony is always respectful, the creativity never timid. Along here with Nicholas Payton on trumpet, the saxophonist and bandleader Osby is one of not all that many illustrations that jazz is still alive and kicking. . ANOUAR BRAHEM"Vague" (ECM): The Tunisian oud player Brahem has renewed the instrument by combining it with Western forms, European musicians and the ECM sound. It might be called difficult easy-listening music. You can keep it in the background and go on doing whatever you're doing, but if you do listen it merits your full attention. Guests include Dave Holland, Jan Garbarek and nay-player Kudsi Erguner. . JOHN GREAVES"The Trouble With Happiness" (Le Chant du Monde/ Harmonia Mundi): Greaves is a British singer-songwriter who has lived in France long enough to be underrated at home and overlooked just about everywhere else. "No Dice" ends with a line about being "cleaned out washed up mangled hanging on the line to dry." A kind of left-field Elvis Costello, Greaves has an ear for poetry and a dramatic voice and is subtly accompanied by Sophia Domancich on piano and Vincent Courtois on cello. . TONY MALABY TRIO"Adobe" (Free Lance/Harmonia Mundi): The trouble with trios with only one horn is that no matter how good the horn person is, once he or she is finished we are left with - horrors - bass and drum solos. Without anybody to fill in the points of the triangle, three larger-than-life musicians are required. (Ornette Coleman with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, for example.) Recorded in Brooklyn by Parisian producers, "Adobe" features the hot young tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby with Drew Gress on bass and Paul Motian on drums, and they also qualify. And two reminders: . LUCINDA WILLIAMS"Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" (Mercury): From 1998, Williams's bluesy, punky, country voice sings soulful songs about towns named Rosedale, Greenville and Jackson and about concrete and barbed wire and drunken angels. . JOHN COLTRANE"Blue Train" (Blue Note): 1957 chordal Coltrane playing through the blues and out the other side. One of the best-selling albums in the jazz catalogue, it is also one of the rare ones to remain of its time and yet not be dated. . International Herald Tribune
  25. Well, in the 3CD Japanese TOCJ set of 'Nights at the Keystone' all the 3 CD's have the regular blue color scheme, as far as I recall. I was lucky enough to pick this up earlier this year at around $20, which I guess is a good price. Wonderful music, of course.