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mjzee

Francis Wolff's BN productions post-Alfred Lion

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What do people here think of Blue Note dates that Francis Wolff produced after BN was sold to Liberty and Alfred Lion left the company?  I'm listening now to Lee Morgan's Caramba!, and can't help thinking the date would have been better with Lion at the helm.  The band sounds a little loose, bordering on sloppy, a little sleepy, and I wonder whether Lion would have asked for another take while Wolff let it go; maybe Wolff couldn't hear the difference.  Maybe Alfred scared them in a way Wolff didn't.  I understand that times were changing, musicians were different, maybe Liberty imposed cost constraints...so maybe it's hard to compare.  Thoughts about Wolff's overall tenure?  Are there any Wolff productions that people here love?

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14 hours ago, mjzee said:

Are there any Wolff productions that people here love?

Bobby Hutcherson's 'Total Eclipse'! My favourite post-Lion Blue Note album. 

However, it was co-produced by Duke Pearson, so maybe it doesn't count.

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Eddie Diehl told me a story of Hank Mobley's Thinking of Home. Francis Wolff wanted to use Kenny Burrell on guitar. Hank Mobley insisted on having Eddie on the date. Eddie commented, "That's a true friend."

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There is much to enjoy in the sessions Francis helmed.  The Dexters in Europe, the Mobley dates as well.  The other Morgan, Sixth Sense.  I should try to listen to Caramba! again but I don't really think I am going to hear the same looseness of lack of preparation that the OP hears.

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3 hours ago, JSngry said:

Your list looks incomplete. I know that Hill's "Grass Roots" was produced by Wolff:

R-1048765-1327277957.jpeg.jpg

As was Hill's "Dance With Death":

R-1251688-1352641145-7394.jpeg.jpg

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It's not my list, it's Wikipedia's list. Looks like it could use your editing!

No matter, that list still works for me, although neither of those Hill albums as released are any of my favorite. I did like the Grass Roots CD bonus session though. Why Wolff put the record out like he did...who knows? But Dance With Death...nobody wins all the time.

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

I would estimate that I especially like about ten or twelve of the albums on this list.

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31 minutes ago, JSngry said:

It's not my list, it's Wikipedia's list. Looks like it could use your editing!

No matter, that list still works for me, although neither of those Hill albums as released are any of my favorite. I did like the Grass Roots CD bonus session though. Why Wolff put the record out like he did...who knows? But Dance With Death...nobody wins all the time.

I'm with you on "Dance With Death". I was excited to finally get my hands on it but when I finally did, it was "meh".

But I am a fan of "Grass Roots" and I prefer the LP tracks. The bonus material from the earlier session seems less funky and taken at a lower boil. It might just be the slower tempos or it could be that I'm a Booker Ervin fan.

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Booker is always good, but Ron Carter's groovelessness deflates that record to terminality imo (now THERE'S a dance with death!). It didn't have to happen, but it did.

Looks like Wolff also did Lift Every Voce with Hill also. That one I like.

I may or may not be in the minority on this, but I like BJP's Wolff records better than his Lion records. I do think he showed a deeper affinity for the genre than did Lion, although that's just a matter of degree.

 

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‘Black Rhythm Happening’ missing from the list.

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The one thing I dislike about the recordings of this "era"--often the bass drum is way away from the rest of the kit. Bugs me.

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43 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

‘Black Rhythm Happening’ missing from the list.

Wikipedia need y'all's help on this one.

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

No matter, that list still works for me, although neither of those Hill albums as released are any of my favorite. I did like the Grass Roots CD bonus session though. Why Wolff put the record out like he did...who knows? But Dance With Death...nobody wins all the time.

Same. Jimmy Ponder and Frank Mitchell!

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I agree completely.

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I love some of those Elvin Jones albums.  And McCoy Tyner's "Extensions" is one of the two best albums he ever did (along with "Sahara") to me.

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acid pot or pills? why do we have to choose!

 

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yes but how much of that is the bands fault and how much the producer.  look i dont know the ins and outs of jazz production and i know there is some but its not exactly like theyre making a todd rundgeren lp here.  its way more organic than that.  

 

I know exactly what youre talking about, about Caramba- but i think we can blame some of this not necessarily on the producer, but I think we should look in Rudys corner or whoever handled the tape at liberty perhaps-, cause to me theres always been something screwy about the sound of the tape this was cut from or maybe the actual master.  I was astonished to discover the lp shares the same problems as the cd, one of the few cases i was extremely disappointed in the cd vs lp difference amount on a blue note.  

 

And i can tell you definitively they overdubbed the cowbell and at the time I asked Benny Maupin that I was really kind of astonished that BN overdubbed something, but much much later i saw the youtube vid of bob crawnshaw explaining the all the edits in sidewinder, and i thought wow yea they were messing with things a lot actually 

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The times had changed when Francis Wolff took over, the pure hard bop era was over, so using that as a yardstick wouldn't do him justice. I love many of the albums he produced. 

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I love the Ornette Coleman albums "Love Call" and "New York is Now"

I have thought "Empty Foxhole" was done in 1966, so it might have been still Alfred Lion ?

I love Jackie Mc Lean´s "Demons Dance", but have some difficulties listening to another album "´ Bout Soul" I think, but it should get more listening, because in general I´m not deaf to free stuff, and "Bout Soul" I think doesn´t have hard bop forms and is even much more advanced than Coleman´s stuff , since it seems that Coleman even if he went far out, had swing sections in it, changing tempos but more in the manner Mingus with Dolphy would have done it....

I love the later McCoy albums for BN, especially one little album I have the cardboard cover version, can´t read what´s written on it, it´s so minuscule.... but it is a quartet with Bobby Hutcherson , I love that one, it´s one of my favourites. I like it even more than "Time for Tyner".

I have some difficulties with all those late Hank Mobley albums. It´s fantastic music, solid, everything, but maybe because Mobley recorded so many many albums, I just keep spinnin certain albums like "Soul Station" and some of that , one or two albums from the 50´s, and from after 1965 I think "Dippin´" is a beautiful album. Somehow later I lost the trace, "Thinking of Home" might be a stuff, but somehow it doesn´t make me happy, it makes me sad, I don´t know why, I think something with Hanks tone had changed, it sounds like he sometimes has difficulties with breathing, maybe his respiratory problems had just started. Anyway it was published much later, in the 80´s I think.

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On ‎7‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 2:03 PM, JSngry said:

Dance With Death...nobody wins all the time.

I like Dance With Death.  Or let me revise that to say I really appreciate having Dance With Death.  Tolliver's also interesting to hear in Hill's world (definitely not the context he shines in best, but it forces him to operate differently, which is interesting) -- and it's good to have Joe Farrell (who also shines on Passing Ships).

But I'll admit to liking the mostly previously unreleased Hill session(s) with Tolliver found on the Hill BN Select better (the one(s) with Pat Patrick and Bennie Maupin) -- i.e. most of Disc #1 of the Hill BN Select.

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