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DrJ

BFT 100 reveal thread!

13 posts in this topic

OK here were go with Part I:

The loose "theme" here was simply great jazz compositions...I'm a big fan of composers and songs and wanted to purposely avoid generic blues and the like for this BFT (not that there's anything wrong with that stuff at all, but wanted a different kind of thing). I tried to include some of my favorites from the category of "why aren't they covered more?" Obviously it wasn't a 100% strict theme, broken by well-known chestnuts like "It Ain't Necessarily So." Speaking of which...

1) Williams, Mary Lou – It Ain’t Necessarily So (George & Ira Gershwin). From “Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways). Recorded 1962 or 1963. Williams – piano; Theodore Cromwell – bass; George Chamble – drums.

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What more is there left to say? One of my very favorite slices of jazz, any era, period. As I said in the discussion thread, if I ever get that jazz radio show I hope to some day, this would be the theme music.

2) Rogers, Billy - E.S.P. (Wayne Shorter). From “The Guitar Artistry of Billy Rogers” (Stash). Recorded 1992. Rogers – guitar; Dave Stryker – rhythm guitar; Jay Anderson – bass; Jeff Hirshfeld – drums.

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I feel I need to "defend" this poor track a little, which got a lot of criticisms. It may help to realize that this recording (and the whole album it comes from) was pieced together as an act of love and respect by fellow guitarist Stryker - who used private demo and practice recordings (primarily off cassette) to assemble finished tracks, overdubbing all of the other musicians including himself. So yes this song and most of the pieces on this recording sound a little artificial and odd, and Rogers' solos would probably have benefitted (in terms of concision etc) had he known they were actually going to be consumed by the public, but the point was to showcase Rogers' abilities. Among other gigs he was the Crusaders' guitarist, replacing Larry Carlton when he departed. Unfortunately Rogers had a major drug problem and died far too young, without ever getting a proper chance to show his abilities in a straight ahead jazz context on a commercial record. I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Stryker for documenting Rogers' potential (even if not quite fully realized). Josef Woodard gave this recording a 4.5 star review in Downbeat on its issue, saying "Rogers plays with a do-or-die intensity, brandishing both technical ferocity and a kind of pained sense of musicality. It's a must-own item." Well said.

I also don't quite follow the negative comments about covering E.S.P. Terrific little piece to improvise over and I don't find it to be over-covered at all. You could do a lot worse than to make that era of Miles' music and jazz in general your starting reference point, IMHO.

3) Wess, Frank & Johnny Coles – Morning Star (Rodgers Grant). From “Two at the Top” (Uptown). Recorded 1983. Wess – alto saxophone; Coles – flugelhorn; Kenny Barron – piano; Reggie Johnson – bass; Kenny Washington – drums.

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This recording is one of my favorites for pure, straightforward beauty and listening pleasure. The playing is superb (I have never heard Barron play better myself), and the tune selection very nice, including a lot of under-appreciated gems like "Morning Star." Unfortunately it'll be hard to find - was only ever out on vinyl. Why Uptown hasn't seen fit to reissue it on CD, I'm not sure. Apparently the track "I'll Be Home For Christmas" was also recorded at the sessions for this LP, and that one did appear on a compilation CD called AN UPTOWN CHRISTMAS - have yet to catch up with it.

4) Lytle, Johnny – The More I See You (Harry Warren & Mack Gordon). From “The Loop” (BGP reissue; originally on Tuba). Recorded 1965. Lytle – vibes; Wynton Kelly – piano; Milt Harris – organ; Bob Cranshaw or George Duvivier – bass; Peppy Hinnant – drums; Willie Rodriguez – congas.

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Lotsa folks guessed the artist and song so won't say much more here other than to say this is a fun two-fer CD, great uncomplicated swinging fun.

Oh and I have to underscore one other thing: that was the great Wynton Kelly swinging on piano (and swing he did)!

5) Boswell Sisters, accompanied by the Dorsey Brothers – Doggone, I’ve Done It (Dave Franklin). From “The Complete Brunswick, Parlophone and Vocalion Bunny Berigan Sessions. Recorded 1932. Berigan – trumpet; Boswell Sisters (Connie, Martha, Vet) – vocals; Tommy Dorsey – trombone; Jimmy Dorsey – clarinet; Joe Venuti – violin; Martha Boswell – piano; Dick McDonough – guitar; Artie Bernstein – bass; Stan King – drums.

Well here's the Bozzies, and the compilation from which I took this piece:

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I just love the feel of this one - virtuosic singing and playing but in the service of sheer fun and communication with an audience. Timeless virtues. Quite a lineup of talent.

6) Walden, Donald – Double Talk (Howard McGhee/Fats Navarro). From “Focus: The Music of Tadd Dameron” (Emanon). Recorded 2002. Walden – tenor saxophone; Cassius Richmond – arranger, alto saxophone; Ernie Rogers – baritone saxophone; Dwight Adams – trumpet; Vincent Chandler – trombone; Kenn Cox – piano; Rodney Whitaker – bass; Bert Myrick – drums.

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One of the more obscure recordings to most people, I suspect. As I understand it Walden was a legend on the Detroit jazz scene, helping to keep the flame burning until his death in 2008. You can read more about him here: Donald Walden. Rather poignant that his friend and collaborator Kenn Cox died right around the same time (and yes that's the same guy who released two dates on Blue Note back in the day as Kenny Cox, with the Contemporary Jazz Quintet).

I would agree that there is some looseness in the ensembles, and some longeuers in the solos here and there, but overall I find this to be playing and especially arranging of the highest caliber. Always loved this piece of music too - although not one of Dameron's many great compositions, obviously the famous version was the one done by Dameron with Navarro for Blue Note.

7) Gourley, Jimmy – Repetition (Neal Hefti). From “Good News” (Bloomdido). Recorded 1981. Gourley – guitar; Lou Levy – piano; Marc Johnson – bass; Victor Lewis – drums.

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I love this - Gourley does have a "busy" style but it works for me in the context of this rather simmeringly frenetic little Hefti composition, recorded by Charlie Parker in 1947. Lou Levy's off-kilter piano style perfectly suits Gourley's unusual approach to guitar, and Lewis cements his reptuation as a dancer on the traps.

Edited by DrJ

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And PART DEUX:

8) Peltier, Tommy’s Jazz Corps – Off the Wall (Tommy Peltier). From “Live at the Lighthouse 1963-7” (Cadence Historical Series). Recorded 1963. Peltier – cornet; Freddy Rodriguez – alto saxophone; Bill Plummer- bass; Maurice Miller – drums.

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I'm pleased most people dug this, which I figured to be one of the bigger stumpers. Like the Billy Rogers recording, this one was the result of some loving archeology, this time by Bob Rusch of Cadence. I believe the story goes that Peltier or someone affiliated with him found these cassettes (yes cassettes - remarkable how great this stuff has been made to sound) of live recordings of the group from the Lighthouse and notified Rusch, who was initially rather unenthusiastic (since he wasn't a big fan of the only Peltier he'd heard at the time - the recording with Roland Kirk). But after hearing these recordings, he was converted, and agreed to a two volume release cherry picking the best stuff, on his own Cadence label. Both volumes are still available direct from Cadence, and WELL worth snagging. While clearly in considerable debt to the music Ornette Coleman was laying down around that time, this is refeshing, enjoyable music with its own thing going.

9) Cables, George – Phantom of the City (George Cables). From “Phantom of the City” (Contemporary). Recorded 1985. Cables – piano; John Heard – bass; Tony Williams – drums.

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I figured this would be a crowd favorite - not! Go figure. I also hear the appreciation of Chick Corea's composing but Cables puts his own thing in there too - I find he has a very distinctive approach to phrasing and one of the more identifiable "attacks" on the piano. Tony Williams is huge on drums - I still prefer his earlier playing before he got so heavily influenced by rock but on this recording and the whole album he keeps things in check a bit more than he had a tendency to do sometimes at this point, avoiding over-powering the group. Unfortunatley this is another very hard to find recording - never out on CD (why Fantasy/OJC, WHY?).

10) Fuller, Curtis – Little Dreams (Curtis Fuller). From “Four On the Outside” (Timeless). Recorded 1978. Fuller- trombone; Pepper Adams – baritone saxophone; James Williams – piano; Dennis Irwin – bass; John Yarling – drums.

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Like the Coles/Wess date, this one is just pure listening pleasure - nothing complicated, as others pointed out just confident, seasoned jazz playing by a stellar group. Fuller continues to be sorely under-appreciated as a composer, so you know I had to include him on a disc with the loose theme of neglected jazz compositions. This is one of those pieces of music that is so deceptive - it sounds like something you'd write in 5 minutes - "childlike" I think someone said - yet, well, nobody other than Curtis seems to write this kind of stuff in jazz. There's a kind of modest genius in that, and in his utterly distinctive trombone tone. Nothing more need be said about Pepper Adams - you guys nailed it there. And let me put in a plug for the wonderful, sadly departed James Williams. One of his best showings on record, I think.

11) Hancock Island – Rockit (Herbie Hancock). From “The Music of Herbie Hancock” (Chesky). Recorded 2007. Steve Wilson – soprano saxophone; George Colligan – arranger, Fender Rhodes piano; Buster Williams – bass; Lenny White – drums.

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What can I say, I expected a little more love for this. Hancock (unlike Fuller) IS recognized as a composer of great jazz tunes, and the thing I thought was cool here is that I would never have included "Rockit" among them - until hearing it arranged and played this way - then it "clicked" and I realized it's fully in the lineage. A bit humbling to realize how much sometimes we are influenced by the trappings rather than the essence. In terms of the playing here, I dig it - Colligan is under-rated in my view and is along with Kevin Hays one of the best modern exponents of the Fender Rhodes, which I also generally dig, a lot. And I find Lenny White's drums (including the little arranged breaks) are spot on. Wonderful natural sounding recording too, issued as an SACD.

12) Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – Communications#9 (Michael Mantler). From “The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra” (ECM). Recorded 1968. Michael Mantler – Conductor; Larry Coryell – guitar; Carla Bley – piano; Beaver Harris – drums; plus orchestra.

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Not much more to say that hasn't been said. I think approached with open ears and some concentration, there is an internal logic to this music that becomes quite apparent - it isn't just sawing away - with a huge payoff at the end where everything just clicks. I like what Coryell does here - it's "freak out," but very much controlled freak out, if that isn't too much of an oxymoron.

13) DiNovi, Gene – Springsville (John Carisi). From “Renaissance of a Jazz Master” (Candid). DiNovi – piano; Dave Young – bass; Terry Clarke – drums.

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I figured this would be a stumper. First the tune: "Springsville" is of course famous for being the opening piece on the first Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration for Columbia, MILES AHEAD - and always one of my very favorite pieces on that recording and in music in general. So when I heard it done up this way I flipped - I think DiNovi manages to make it sound orchestrated without overdoing, and by emphasizing the darker/melancholy undercurrent of the piece, he has transformed it, creating a little mini masterpiece in the process. This is a tune that demands wider coverage.

Now about DiNovi, he had quite a varied and interesting career which you can read more about here: Di Novi bio. Before I had picked up this excellent trio recording from the autumn of his career, I had only been familiar with his playing from some tracks he did with Benny Goodman during the latter's period of experimentation with a more bop-influenced sound, included on the UNDERCURRENT BLUES release on Blue Note. I'm so glad I found this interesting Candid release in the bargain used bins not long ago and explored Di Novi's playing, and hope you'll check him out too.

14) Tucker, Mickey – Giant Steps (John Coltrane). From “Triplicity” (Xanadu). Recorded 1975. Tucker – organ; Jimmy Ponder – guitar; Eddie Gladden – drums.

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So this was apparently initially issued on this date led by Tucker, more widely known of course as a pianist - though I actually pulled it off the very hard to find French Xanadu release of a James Moody date with Tucker and crew in support called JAMES MOODY AND THE HIP ORGAN TRIO - which is well worth having by the way, Moody is in fine form. Anyway, no matter how you may pick it up, it's a fun romp through that eternal separator of the men (or women) from the boys (or girls), and I thought a nice way to bring BFT 100 to a close.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Edited by DrJ

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Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Yes! Thanks for a great 100th BFT. I loved the range - from The Boswell Sisters to the Jazz Composers Orchestra.

And now mikeweil owes me a beer. I'm not sure when I'll be able to collect, but I won't forget!

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Dave Stryker, an Omaha boy made good.

Can you, or anybody else, suggest some other albums to check into for the Boswell Sisters?

Thanks very much for the BFT.

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Can you, or anybody else, suggest some other albums to check into for the Boswell Sisters?

Unfortunately my knowledge of the Boswells begins and ends with the Berigan Mosaic set! Sort of a shame based on the music in the box. I'll be watching with interest to see if anyone else has suggestions.

Thanks very much for the BFT.

You're welcome!

Edited by DrJ

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I own the Mary Lou Williams and George Cables albums but just did not remember them. There was a lot here which I had never heard--but I want to hear more. Thanks for a great BFT!

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I have that JCO record -- shame on me. I clearly don't have the DiNovi record - shame on me again. And lastly, I have the Tucker cut on the Moody album... I need to go hide my head in deep sand.

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Ahhhh, so much to get!!! I think I may take you up on your previous offers for the sources of tracks 2, 3, and 9!

Can't believe there wasn't more love for track 2! I thought that was played brilliantly, and now that I know the story behind it, I appreciate it that much more!

I woulda NEVER guessed George Cables, and now that I listen to it again, I realize how shameful that little admission truly is!

Didn't realize how close I came with the "Italian restaurant" comment with regards to Gene DiNovi! Perhaps I oughta check this out, too!

And the albums from which tracks 4, 7, and 11 have shot to the top of my want list! Maybe even track 8 if I'm in a good mood! :)

Still listenin' to this BFT, DrJ, and still enjoyin' the heck outta it!

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Ahhhh, so much to get!!! I think I may take you up on your previous offers for the sources of tracks 2, 3, and 9!

Happy to help if needed

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Ahhhh, so much to get!!! I think I may take you up on your previous offers for the sources of tracks 2, 3, and 9!

Happy to help if needed

PM coming!

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Urrghh - I have that Mickey Tucker album .... this track sounded familiar enough to me, but I didn't take the time to check my collection. Tucker was great - I have all of his albums as a leader and can recommend any of them.

So it was Coles and Wess playing Morning Star ... this is the only Coles leader date missing in my collection - I always wondered what it sounds like. Will have to listen once again.

Great compilation! Some real stumpers indeed!

Edited by mikeweil

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Can you, or anybody else, suggest some other albums to check into for the Boswell Sisters?

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I was hoping that someone more knowledgeable about the Bozzie's CDs might answer. But since NIS hasn't gotten any answer yet, I'll say that this is the only dedicated Boswell Sisters CD I have, and I like it. It's not perfect - some of my favorite Bozzie tracks are on other albums in my collections (Bunny Berigan and Jack Purvis sets, to be specific) - but it's good. It's OOP but not hard to find or particularly expensive

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Can you, or anybody else, suggest some other albums to check into for the Boswell Sisters?

51ygWg0f7KL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I was hoping that someone more knowledgeable about the Bozzie's CDs might answer. But since NIS hasn't gotten any answer yet, I'll say that this is the only dedicated Boswell Sisters CD I have, and I like it. It's not perfect - some of my favorite Bozzie tracks are on other albums in my collections (Bunny Berigan and Jack Purvis sets, to be specific) - but it's good. It's OOP but not hard to find or particularly expensive

Thanks Jeff. I was really quite taken by the track DrJ included and want to hear more.

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