jazzbo

Overlooked Altos

234 posts in this topic

Here is one of his better recent albums with Mike Wofford on piano and Joe LaBarbera on drums. recorded in July, 2000.

post-3-1106516863.jpg

Excellent album.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone has heard this disc?

B00005R1C5.08.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

It's a quartet with g-b-d.

ubu

It's really good! It was one of the first releases of the AJMI label. The label also produced albums by Larry Schneider and the Martial Solal Dodecaband.

Ortega enjoyed playing with the three musicians (Remi Charmasson on guitar, Guillaume Seguon on bass and Randy Kaye on drums) in his usual sincere no-concession attitude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anthony Ortega has been living and playing in San Diego for years. Some of his French records are beauties.

/

Ornette "overlooked"? Ornette's "career problems"? Can't see it. For the last 40 years he's always played and recorded what he wants, for the $ he wants.

/

Absholom Ben Schlomo has been in Chicago in recent months -- saw him at the Jazz Fair at the WHPK booth last Friday. Says he's returning to Israel soon.

/

2 genuinely overlooked alto players, at least on this thread, are Earl Fouche and Glyn Paque. But trad collectors certainly know them. Fouche is the player who really makes those 1928 Sam Morgan records sing and Glyn Paque has some lovely solos on the King Oliver Victors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know exactly how you gauge visibility, or lack thereof, but I love Marty Ehrlich's playing. He's got a wonderful, full tone, doesn't have an overbearingly cutting edge, yet his playing nonetheless possesses a unique vehemence. He has an odd musical imagination without it being irritatingly "quirky".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A big vote for John Jenkins. One of my very favorite recordings is the John Jenkins/Jackie McLean "Alto Madness," with Doug Watkins, Arthur Taylor and Wade Legge. Jenkins also did a recording with Kenny Burrell on Blue Note back in 1957.

Marla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zaid Nasser is seriously overlooked in my view. I'm going to try to remedy that.

Luke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lkaven (Luke) - could you tell me more about Zaid Nasser, and direct me to some recordings?

John Litweiler - I know nothing about Absholom Ben Schlomo, am intrigued. Could you give me some directions to pursue; and what's the best source for records that showcase Earl Fouche and Glyn Paque?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look. :P

Edited by Jazz Kat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I know all about the stigma that the alto has for some. A lot of alto players don't get talked about much, some deservedly so.

Here's a guy that should be talked about though: T. K. Blue, or Talib Kibwe if you will. Long a musical director/frontliner for Randy Weston, and also a leader in his own right. The man can PLAY!

TKweb.jpg

Saw his with Jimmy Scott, and yes he can blow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok - I'll pop another alto in. Henry Threadgill. Aside from not being visible enough in media terms (despite frequent recording and perfomance), I guess he is known to one generation as more a free player that leant towards tenor and baritone, in the ensemble Air. These days, aside from flute, he plays mainly alto, and gets an idiosyncratic, stinging, highly vocalised sound on it.

In some quarters too I guess he's seen in the light of an ecumenical composer and arranger, whose alto playing is employed colouristically. His solos are often brief and elliptical, but they are frequently discursive gems of improvisational brilliance. He has a unique and generous musical mind, full of ideas, and this comes out in his improvisations. Don't expect 50 choruses, expect more terse, gnomic statements. But they're often wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

brownie, thanks for your feedback on the Ortega disk!

Glyn Paque was indeed a fine player. He was living and performing in Switzerland somewhen in the Thirties.

ubu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee! I am amazed that no one from England has mentioned the "great" Freddy Gardner .... his records, particularly things like "Roses of Picardy" were staples in my household when I was growing up ... He sounded a bit like Johnny Hodges. Does anyone even know of him these days? ... In an age when the saxophone was not exactly a major instrument in popular music, Gardner was the Kenny G. of his time ... a rather backhanded compliment I know ... but he sold lots of records in his time.

......My father wanted me to develop a tone like his as the "ideal" for an alto player .... I wanted to sound like Art Pepper!

Garth.

Edited by garthsj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain John Handy of New Orleans (no relation to the San Francisco-based J.H.) should be heard. There's at least one GHB or Jazzology album under his name and he plays on some Kid Thomas dates. Swings like mad.

/

Far as I know, Absholom has only recorded smooth-jazz, and that only for an obscure Israeli label or labels -- maybe it's his own label. Too bad. Nessa and I heard him when he was 18 or so years old, and he was a promising free player back then.

/

The Glyn Paque solos are on the King Oliver BMG CD. Earl Fouche is on all 8 Sam Morgan sides from 1928. Some of the 8 seem to have been reissued piecemeal on CD. All 8 are on the Columbia boxed set The Sound Of New Orleans. Around 5 years ago, there was some hope that those old Frank Driggs boxes for Columbia -- The Sound Of New Orleans, The Sound Of Chicago, The Sound Of New York, Fletcher Henderson. etc. -- might appear on CD. Haven't seen them yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look.  :P

The trumpet player is Howard Magee. That's a great video- JJ is playing his ass off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frank Strozier...

Now digging him in 'Variety Is The Spice' by Louis Hayes. The man could play!

The albums he recorded under his name always bring joy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second (or third, or fourth) some names already mentioned here:

• Earl Anderza

Love his Pacific Jazz album. To my ears, he seems one of the few altoists that played in a similar vein to, though not in imitation of, Eric Dolphy. Great interval leaps, nice use of the altissimo range.

• Shafi Hadi, nee Curtis Porter

An inventive composer, and equally interesting as an improvisor. It would be great if his unaccompanied solos (which I think are mostly, if not entirely, on tenor) from the soundtrack to Shadows were released on compact disc.

• Hal McKusick

Has anyone mentioned Hal? Refined like refined sugar, but still pleasingly sweet.

• Jimmy Lyons

Probably not "overlooked" — at least on this board — but Lyons will always remain in my mind as one of the greatest talents deserving of wider recognition. The true heir to Bird's throne?

... and here are some names I don't think have been mentioned yet:

• Ori Kaplan

Check out his album Gongol (which Bagatellen CEO Joe Christmas first hipped me to), and his work on CIMP. The guy can play.

• Briggan Krauss

I like his irreverence perhaps more than his "chops," but he's an interesting, if often subversive, improvisor. I like when a musician can flip you the bird, and you still appreciate his/her playing.

• Rudresh Mahanthappa

JohnB here I think was the first to champion Rudi's playing on this board.

• Brad Leali

Leali was in the 1 O'Clock when I was at North Texas. I haven't really kept up with his career, but he could play back in the late 80's, and I'd bet he's doing something worth hearing now.

• Peter King

King's been on the scene for a long time. I'm guessing most UK posters know who he is. Great "bop chops." Strangely (or not), my very first exposure to his playing was on a Charlie Watts record.

• Dick Johnson

I shouldn't even put Johnson's name here ... because I've never heard a note. I do remember, though, that Garth spoke highly of him, and that (apparently) he plays in the Mariano/Ortega mold. Have to get around to checking him out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look.  :P

The trumpet player is Howard Magee. That's a great video- JJ is playing his ass off.

Was what I said the actually case? Was Sonny really pissed off at that guy Howard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look.  :P

The trumpet player is Howard Magee. That's a great video- JJ is playing his ass off.

Was what I said the actually case? Was Sonny really pissed off at that guy Howard?

Something's going on, I'm not sure what. It definitely seems that Stitt doesn't think much of Magee's antics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lkaven (Luke) - could you tell me more about Zaid Nasser, and direct me to some recordings?

Zaid Nasser is the son of bassist Jamil Nasser (nee George Joyner). He was a weekly feature at Smalls for several years. Also did some time in the Frank Hewitt quintet. Expatriated to play in Armenia with piano monster Vahagn Hayrapetian, then returned to NY to starve. Featured on one track on the Jazz Underground: Live at Smalls CD on Impulse, and is in the band for one or two things on Ned Otter's 2and4 label. He's another one that wasn't crossover enough for Impulse to sign. Slated to record for me this spring. Overdue.

Luke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look.  :P

The trumpet player is Howard Magee. That's a great video- JJ is playing his ass off.

Was what I said the actually case? Was Sonny really pissed off at that guy Howard?

Something's going on, I'm not sure what. It definitely seems that Stitt doesn't think much of Magee's antics.

Looks like he was very hurt and tried to cover it up with laughter. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny "alto story." I have the video, Classic jazz Drummers. There is a video clip of Kenny Clarke with JJ Johnson. With Johnson is Sonny stitt, and some trumpeter that I am not aware of. Looks like everyone in the band didn't pre=plan the arrangements at all, and when someone wanted to take a solo, they just said, "My turn." About 2 seconds into Sonny Stitt's solo, this trumpet player goes up to Sonny, am I'm guessing says, "Can I solo." (The music is too loud to hear,) But then I think Stitt says, no I'm playing, with a sort of nasty look on his face. After his, probaly 32 bar solo, the trumpeter takes the solo to trade off with Kenny, Sonny gives him a dirty look.  :P

The trumpet player is Howard Magee. That's a great video- JJ is playing his ass off.

Was what I said the actually case? Was Sonny really pissed off at that guy Howard?

Something's going on, I'm not sure what. It definitely seems that Stitt doesn't think much of Magee's antics.

Looks like he was very hurt and tried to cover it up with laughter. :(

I'm assuming you're not familiar with Howard McGhee (not Magee) but Maggie is one of the more famous trumpeters from the 40s, who played with Bird and other. He suffered an eclipse in the 50s due to drugs but did make a rebound with some nice albums for Bethlehem among others. No collection is complete without some of Maggie's work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one has mentioned that fine Canadian alto player P.J. Perry.

The guy that deserves to make a CD under his own name is Gary Pribek. He is a marvelous swinging alto player. He is on recordings with the Buddy Rich and the Mel Lewis big bands and has

done some some group recordings with Dannie D'Imperio.

Peter F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles Tyler -- wonderful lyrical thematic improviser, very intense. He attacked themes like a starving carnivore. The Nessa LP "Saga of the Outlaws" is terrific, there's also a great but short "Saga" on Charles's Silkheart CD w/the Brus Trio. He was a hell of a baritone player, too, and near the end of his life he played some lovely tenor sax, too.

/

Mario Schiano has his moments, though he's also recorded a lot of throwaway stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.