And, continuing from where we left off...
8. Jodie Christian - “Chromatically Speaking” (Christian)
from Rain or Shine (Delmark)
Jodie Christian (piano); Roscoe Mitchell (soprano); Paul McKee (trombone); Larry Gray (bass); Ernie Adams (drums)
This is a fun whirlwind of a tune. I’d seen Jodie Christian’s name around in the Jazz Record Mart newsletter and Delmark catalogs for years, and always wondered. I picked this up at JRM in Chicago last year and it’s a pretty interesting album. Very schizophrenic style-wise, but Christian plays all styles with confidence. He covers ballads, straight ahead stuff with vocals, avant-garde, post bop...and of course Roscoe Mitchell’s appearance here was of interest to me too. He’s played on a number of Christian’s albums. A lot of you liked the trombone solo. I’m not familiar with Paul McKee apart from this record.
9. Muhal Richard Abrams feat. Malachi Favors - “J.G. (Dedicated to Johnny Griffin)” (Abrams)
from Sightsong (Black Saint)
October 13-14, 1975
Muhal Richard Abrams (piano); Malachi Favors (bass)
More from the AACM (for those keeping score, we’ve already had Jarman, Freeman, Threadgill, more Abrams, Christian, and Mitchell)...and there’s more to come on the next 2 tracks. Ronald guessed this one correctly. Everything on this album is great, but this particular tune always stood out to me...I find the head very catchy.
10. Ari Brown - “Oh What a World We’re Living In” (Brown)
from Venus (Delmark)
Ari Brown (tenor); Kirk Brown (piano)
Yes, the one and only Ari Brown. Truly a talent deserving wider recognition if there ever was one. Saw him at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago last year and it was one of those performances that just lifted the audience right off the ground...it was a great night. Ari is the real deal.
11. Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble - “February” (Mitchell)
from Black Unstoppable (Delmark)
Nicole Mitchell (flute); David Boykin (tenor, percussion); Jeff Parker (guitar); Tomeka Reid (cello); Josh Abrams (bass); Marcus Evans (drums)
I’ve been getting acquainted with Mitchell’s music over the last several years and have become a big fan. Though I’ve never seen her perform live, the first recordings I’ve heard were live recordings from various venues in Chicago and they really blew me away. For some reason when I went to check out her earlier studio albums, they never quite clicked with me. The more recent stuff on Delmark has, for me anyway, better reflected her incredible talent. As a performer and composer, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
12. Ray Brown - “Bric A Brac” (Brown)
from This is Ray Brown (Verve)
Ray Brown (bass); Jerome Richardson (flute); Oscar Peterson (organ); Herb Ellis (guitar); Osie Johnson (drums)
This is an old favorite. Ray is my man! It’s funny how these things go...some of the tunes that I never expected people to guess were guessed early on, and this was one that I thought for sure people would get quickly. Yes, it’s Oscar Peterson on organ which is the tricky part, but I really expected that someone would ID Ray. I don’t know if this album is currently in print...I have a Japanese LP reissue of it from the 80s, that I had signed by Mr. Brown himself somewhere in the 90s. He was and is a huge influence on my playing. He swings like nobody else and his solos are second to none. I don’t actually think this is one of his best albums but it sure has some great moments.
13. Kelly Shepherd - “The Beauty of Simplicity” (Eric Kennedy)
from The Beauty of Simplicity (Somerset)
Kelly Shepherd (alto); Eric Kennedy (vocal/drums); Richard Wyands (piano); Paul Brown (bass)
I have to confess I am not 100% certain of this lineup, except that I do know it is Eric Kennedy on vocals and drums. Not totally sure about the piano and bass. That’s because I only have the download version of this from CDBaby and they give no lineup info so this is an educated guess based on something I found elsewhere online. So I don’t know a lot about these guys, but I think this tune is absolutely beautiful and I had to include it.
1. Jack Bruce - “Sam Enchanted Dick (Medley: Sam’s Sack/Rill’s Thrills)” (Bruce/Heckstall-Smith)
from Things We Like (Polydor)
Jack Bruce (bass); Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophones); John McLaughlin (guitar); Jon Hiseman (drums)
The weird thing here is that some releases of this album identify the first part of this tune as "Sam Sack" and credit it to Milt Jackson, but it is not the same tune...I’m fairly certain that this is taken from a Sam Jones thing, but I can’t place it at the moment. In any case, this album in my opinion is one of those rare occasions where someone who is known as a rock player can actually pull off the jazz thing well. But when one further investigates Jack Bruce one finds he is most definitely not just a "rock" musician. I absolutely love Heckstall-Smith’s playing on this album, and this track in particular.
2. Universal Jones - “Takin’ Care of Business” (Pendarvis/McDaniels)
from Vol. 1 (Verve)
Eugene McDaniels (lead vocal, acoustic guitar); Sister Charlotte (vocals, percussion); Maurice McKinley (drums, percussion); Bob Woos (guitars, bass); Leon Pendarvis (bass, elec. piano, vocals); Joe Dupars, Joe Gardner, Thad Jones, John Mosley (trumpets); Garnett Brown, Bob Greivell (trombones); Pepper Adams (bari); Jerry Dodgion (alto); Andy Gadsden (tenor); Billy Harper (tenor); Carol Kaye (bass); Harry Whitaker (Fender Rhodes)...also more background singers and strings incl. Milt Hinton on bass
This tune is just a total blast. My path to McD was via Bobby Hutcherson’s “Now!”, then “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”. This one has never been reissued on CD and has been out of print for years, which frankly, sucks. But it is easily worth the $30 on Ebay. Eugene McDaniels also just happened to live in my little town of Kittery, Maine, up until his passing a couple of years ago. I spoke with him a few times and he was quite honestly one of the most genuine, warm, present, and generous people I’ve met. He's also one of my all-time favorite singers and musicians. I don’t know the exact personnel on this particular tune, there are lots of people on this album and I’ve listed many of them above. The real thing I want to know is why was there no "Vol. 2"?
...and that's all, folks! Thanks for playing!