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Joe

BFT 198 Reveal

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BFT198-R.jpg

1) “Summertime” from Ahmed Abdul-Mailk’s The Eastern Moods of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. Prestige Records, 1963.
Ahmed-Abdul Mailk (b); Bilal Abdurrahman (as, cl, Korean reed flute); William Henry Allen (perc)

IIRC, this and Spellbound were the only Abdul-Malik Prestiges not reissued in the CD era. This one has sine been reissued on vinyl and been returned to circulation via streaming. In any event, this is the most recognizable “jazz” you will encounter on this LP. In fact, the second side is mostly oud and percussion: “folk”/world music circa 1963. But I do really love this arrangement, and would gladly listen to more Bilal Abdurrahman if I could. If you feel like I do, maybe start here? https://nobusinessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-mans-blues-new-york-collage 
https://bilalabdurahman.bandcamp.com/

2) “Ecaroh” from Ran Blake’s Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir. hatOLOGY, 2000.
Ran Blake (p)

“Ecaroh” is already an oddly structured tune; it’s almost a suite. Ran Blake (as he can, will, and does), turns the composition into some spiral staircase, equal parts Gaudi and Escher, that folds back in on itself, opening up onto previously unseen dimensions. In my book, one of the quintessential Ran Blake performances. I wrote about this recording when it came out 20 years ago (!). You can read those thoughts here: http://www.onefinalnote.com/features/2001/blake-ran/ if you are so inclined.

3) “Improper Authorities” from Ralph Alessi’s Imaginary Friends. ECM, 2019.
Ralph Alessi (tp); Ravi Coltrane (ts); Andy Milne (p); Drew Gress (b); Mark Ferber (d)

Let’s hear it for M-Base! Actually, I’m not sure how M-Base-y this really is. But that aesthetic still deserves more attention and appreciation, IMO, and both Alessi and Milne continue to extend what has now become a tradition (even though it hasn’t given up entirely on being a movement). 

4) “Arica” from Terry Riley’s Lisbon Concert. New Albion, 1996 (recorded: 1995).
Terry Riley (p)

OK, the first of two tracks that push the limits of this BFT, at least in terms of genre. I was inspired to put this performance on here by this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwIXnoya4yo. A gorgeous performance, perhaps better than the one documented on Lisbon Concert (which is excellent). But what got me were the commenters on that video comparing Riley to Keith Jarrett. I guess I hear it, but it’s hard for me not to hear Terry Riley first. In any event, he has jazz bona fides, having worked with Chet Baker, etc. And he knows what he is doing on this instrument. (FWIW, it looks like the complete Moscow concert was made available on CD at one time: http://www.leorecords.com/?m=select&id=CD_LA_01032. Leads on a copy appreciated!) 

5) “If She Can’t Do It (Parts 1 & 2)” from Robin Kenyatta’s Robin Kenyatta's Free State Band. America Records, 1972. 
Robin Kenyatta (as); François Nyombo (g); Kent Carter (b); Aldo Romano (d); Keino Spellar (perc)

Talk about an overlooked musician. Talk about a player who understands the power of tone. A much smaller band than the one you find on Bitches Brew, but, yeah, they start to percolating in ways that can’t help but evoke that record. But this is still leaner, slinkier, less beholden to psychedelia. This performance was split between sides A and B of the original LP; I stitched them back together here. 

6) “Phrygian Waterfall” from Toshiko Akiyoshi’s At Top Of The Gate. Columbia (Japan), 1969 (recorded: 1968). 
Toshiko Akiyoshi (p)

Love Toshiko. Love her touch, sense of dynamics, and harmonic imagination. Love this LP, which features some very good, twilight-era Kenny Dorham. But isn’t it funny how this sounds more like Terry Riley than Terry Riley!

7) “Crease” from Red Snapper’s Making Bones. Warp Records, 1998.
David Ayers (g); Ali Friend (b); Richard Thair (d)

Curveball #2. Or violation, depending on your POV. As many of you pointed out, this is all about the rhythm section, and quite a rhythm section they are. Sylistically, this is electronic dance music (if not straight-up EDM); I suppose it was classified as acid jazz back in the day. But the approach is almost 100% acoustic/organic (ignore the samples). Groove is groove, and these guys have it. Thair I find particularly impressive. He walks a tightrope strung between programming’s precision and human looseness. I think Red Snapper are still active? At least, they were making some music worth hearing as recently as 2014 (Hyena). 

8) “Solar” from Steve Kuhn’s Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 13. Concord Jazz, 1990.
Steve Kuhn (p)

I like Steve Kuhn. He’s a true oddball, and he plays with both hands. This is less pounding than many of my favorite performances by him (“Malaguena” from Pete LaRoca’s Basra, all of his work on Karin Krog’s We Could Be Flying), but this one still shows us his characteristic mix of heaviness and agility, even if he likes to slide a bit off the beat when making his landings. There’s also more Tristano here than I remember hearing in his work before… around the 5 minute mark, squint your ears and tell me that doesn’t sound like Lennie’s “G Minor Complex.”

9) “I Think I Got It” from Nat Adderley’s Don’t Look Back. Steeplechase, 1976.
Nat Adderley (tp); John Stubblefield (ss); Makanda Ken McIntyre (as); Onaje Allan Gumbs (p, comp); Fernando Gumbs (b); Buddy Williams (d); Victor See Yuen (perc)

What a strange record. But Nat had big ears and was always willing to experiment. Stubblefield sounds like he’s playing behind a baffle, which does him few favors. But talk about another unjustly overlooked player. He rather unfairly got lost in the shuffle once David Murray arrived and kind of got deemed the primary inside-out tenor of his generation worth paying attention to. (And I like David Murray.) If you’ve never heard Stubblefield’s Bushman Song — heck, any of his Enja dates — I recommend rectifying that. That said, this LP is all about Makanda Ken McIntyre AFAIC. Not someone I would expect to find in this context, but he fits somehow. I understand he’ll always be associated with Eric Dolphy, but I never really think of him as a particularly Dolphy-like player. Yes, intervallic leaps are part of his musical vocabulary. But he speaks / sings with his own voice, and he’s often more deliberative in his delivery. 

10) “Stormy Weather” from André Previn’s André Previn Plays Songs by Harold Arlen. Contemporary Records, 1960.
André Previn (p)

Most of the time, I don’t find Previn a compelling jazz performer. But the three solo piano “songbooks” LPs he made for Prestige — Arlen, Vernon Duke, and Jerome Kern — are all quite fine, and find him trying to swing less. IMO, that’s where he runs into trouble. And when he tries to emulate Art Tatum too closely. But he’s very subdued on this performance. I mean, some of the cleverness still pokes through his reharmonization, but, overall, I find it quite beautiful. Didn’t seem to really do much for the other listeners here… dare I say it left you all a bit cold?

11) “Boo” from Ernie Watts’ Planet Love. World Pacific, 1969.
Ernie Watts (ts); Clarence McDonald (p); Stanley Gilbert (b); Robert Morin (d). Produced by Wayne Henderson. Read the original liner notes to this LP here: https://www.erniewatts.com/discography/planet_love.html

Ernie Watts was guessed, but he’s still on tenor here, not alto. A record I recently discovered, and which gave me renewed appreciation for Watts. I never really warmed to his work with Haden’s Quartet West, but he always sounds more at home with contemporary material. He needs some R&B/funk to really shine. I know nothing about the rhythm section, but I like what I hear. 

12) “Hommage A Debussy” by Mel Powell. Recorded in Paris, May 19, 1945. Originally issued by Disques ABC Paris as part of their Collection Du Jazz Club Français. Available on Piano Prodigy. Ocium Records, 2003.
Mel Powell (p)

Another pianist straddling the jazz/”classical” divide. But Powell can swing. A lot happens in these 3 minutes, none of it uninteresting, to be sure! Shades of Ellington perhaps more than anyone, to my ears. But “In a Mist” is there, too, and rent parties, and… Anyway, Mel Powell is one of those musicians who consistently surprises. Maybe someday we will get a decent transfer of this and the flip side (“Hommage A Fats Waller”). 

13) “Cherokee” from L'Age Mür; co-leaders, Lee Konitz & Enrico Rava. Philology, 1998.
Lee Konitz (as); Enrico Rava (tp); Rosario Bonaccorso (b); Massimo Manzi (d)

One of my favorite late-period Lee recordings. Rava is always a good foil, and sounds particularly inspired here. Is this bebop or stream of consciousness narration? I also like that they didn’t go with the contrafact and stuck with the actual melody of “Cherokee.” A word of admiration for the rhythm section, too. They do a fine job of pushing and pulling while staying in their lane (so to speak) — Manzi especially.

14) “Home” from Bobby Naughton’s Green Street. Otic Records, 1973 [?]. (Recorded in 1973, but may not have been released until 2009.)
Bobby Naughton (p)

Known primarily for his work on vibes and close association with Wadada Leo Smith, Naughton also made several self-released (?) recordings in the 70s, all of which can be auditioned online in various places. This is one of the more obscure of those LPs. Nothing much to say except I really like the mood of this. Ruminative, sure. But Naughton understands the blues, too. The last 2 minutes I find particularly lovely and “song-like.” If Robert Creeley improvised on piano (and maybe he did), I feel like it would sound something like this.

15) “Public Transportation” from Brian Charette’s Beyond Borderline. Steeplechase, 2019. 
Brian Charette (Hammond B3 organ)

I dig Sam Yahel well enough, and I very much enjoy it when Jamie Saft sits down at the organ bench (assuming that’s a thing). But Charette is a guy who has clearly studied “the greats” and is trying to do something with that specific Jimmy Smith-Shirley Scott-Big John Patton tradition. Maybe there’s some Larry Young influence, but it feels more balanced by others. Anyway, this is a bit of a grandstanding piece, but it is also a reminder of how synthesizer-like the B-3 can be. All those colors! Scott was/is, IMO, got the most mileage out of mixing and matching timbres. Nice to hear something of that going on here. 
 

Edited by Joe

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Even on a BFT that didn't hit many high points for me, there's an album that I have - verifying that old "rule":

At Top Of The Gate

Gifted many, many moons ago, I think by someone who isn't active anymore - Dr. J maybe?

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Many mysteries solved, thanks!  I also own the Akiyoshi album (Dan and I own the same album, say it ain't so!), as well as the Nat Adderley.  Fascinating on Terry Riley, and I look forward to picking that up eventually.  I have his "A Rainbow in Curved Air" album, which I also like, but which is very different.   And I have the Abdul-Malik, which I identified.  The Kenyatta was an especially interesting reveal, as 1972 is very early for that sort of thing.  Wouldn't mind picking that up eventually, either.  He has an interesting (if frustrating) back catalog.  A shame that Ernie Watts is not on CD, and at this point, it likely never will be.  Great job on the BFT and the Reveal, thanks so much!

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Great stuff. I have none of those albums, nor have I ever heard any of them. Added a few to my shopping list though! 

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2 hours ago, Joe said:

2) “Ecaroh” from Ran Blake’s Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir. hatOLOGY, 2000.
Ran Blake (p)

Happy I was at least in the neighborhood.  Embarrassed to not get the song.

2 hours ago, Joe said:

3) “Improper Authorities” from Ralph Alessi’s Imaginary Friends. ECM, 2019.
Ralph Alessi (tp); Ravi Coltrane (ts); Andy Milne (p); Drew Gress (b); Mark Ferber (d)

Yeah, just don't jibe with Ravi.  Got to meet Ferber at a jazz camp, once, and he really made an impression on me; had great feel.

2 hours ago, Joe said:

6) “Phrygian Waterfall” from Toshiko Akiyoshi’s At Top Of The Gate. Columbia (Japan), 1969 (recorded: 1968). 

When discussing some of Lew's work with Toshiko's big band with a horn player, he sort of scowled and said, "He married well."  Still cracks me up.

2 hours ago, Joe said:

8) “Solar” from Steve Kuhn’s Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 13. Concord Jazz, 1990.

 

 

It always bugs me when I don't like Kuhn.  Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers is absolutely one of my all-time favorite tunes.

2 hours ago, Joe said:

11) “Boo” from Ernie Watts’ Planet Love. World Pacific, 1969.

 

Ernie Watts (ts), Clarence McDonald (p), Stanley Gilbert (b), Robert Morin (d). Produced by Wayne Henderson. Read the original liner notes to this LP here: https://www.erniewatts.com/discography/planet_love.html

Huh.  Right guy, wrong horn.  Hate when that happens.  ;)

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Some pretty cool stuff, especially the solo Kuhn and the Nat Adderley session.

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I like the way you've arranged the album covers in your reveal.

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35 minutes ago, mjzee said:

I like the way you've arranged the album covers in your reveal.

Thanks. I thought it would be easier to mosaic them in Photoshop that post them individually with each entry.

And thanks all for listening and discussing! Glad to know some of these tracks connected with you.

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