Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
HutchFan

More Favorites: Reflections on Jazz in the 1980s

83 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, The Magnificent Goldberg said:

And Bob Porter began to produce for Milestone, with Hank Crawford, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Ponder and Arthur Prysock all making very fine albums.

Yeah!!!  My favorite Porter productions in the 80s (and 90s): The Hank Crawford/Jimmy McGriff duo records on Milestone.  Excellent!  

... And don't forget the two Charles Earland albums that Porter produced for Milestone.  More good stuff.  (I was listening to Front Burner yesterday. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to think the sound of the 80s Soul Jazz revival is a bit too "healthy", or not greasy enough for me, but still cherish some of them:

  • Swedish Lullaby / Richard Groove Holmes (1984)
  • Steppin' Up / Hank Crawford & Jimmy McGriff (1987)
  • Mean Streets No Bridges / Jimmy Ponder (1987) and other Muse recordings
  • Front Burner / Charles Earland (1988) and other Muse recordings
  • Out Of Nowhere / Snooks Eaglin (1989) well, kinda honorable mention...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, mhatta said:

I tend to think the sound of the 80s Soul Jazz revival is a bit too "healthy", or not greasy enough for me, but still cherish some of them:

  • Swedish Lullaby / Richard Groove Holmes (1984)
  • Steppin' Up / Hank Crawford & Jimmy McGriff (1987)
  • Mean Streets No Bridges / Jimmy Ponder (1987) and other Muse recordings
  • Front Burner / Charles Earland (1988) and other Muse recordings
  • Out Of Nowhere / Snooks Eaglin (1989) well, kinda honorable mention...

I love the idea of the two genres of soul jazz: greasy and healthy.

Thank you for the list of favourites. Digging to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lou's "disco" (I guess?) records deteriorated in quality, mo, not in playing, but in terms of production. Just...unimaginative, bad choices made, not good ones. DULL choices.

When he "came back", those records were "better", but the die was cast - Lou would make the same record, just with different songs. Over and over. AND over.

I mean, I love the guy, who doesn't, but let's be honest, he's comfort food. The recipe never changes (including the specific ingredients), and it's not something you want at every freaking meal for the rest of your life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I forgot to mention this one...Dakota is great, but the very best Houston Person can be heard on this album.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, HutchFan said:

MG,

Just to clarify: Are these the four Donaldson albums with Herman Foster that you're referring to?

- Sweet Poppa Lou (Muse)
- Back Street (Muse)
- Forgotten Man (Timeless)
- Live in Bologna, Vol. 1 (Timeless)  

If so, which one do you like best?  The two Muses look more appealing -- but that doesn't mean they are.

 

 

Interesting.  I don't think of Houston Person's productions as quite on the same high level as Bob Porter's in terms of consistency and quality. 

To my ears, Person's productions are hit-and-miss (some terrific, some not so much), whereas Porter's are almost always on the right-on-the-mark. 

Just my preference, I guess.

 

All those Donaldsons are very nice. Bologna was, to my ears, a bit lamely recorded - funny that there was no RVG studio in Bologna. But it's live and quite a long album, with lots of stretching out. The one I like less than the others is Back street. But it's all down to personal preference.

I think I'll agree that there was a slight unevenness to Houston's productions. But in my view he understood much better than anyone else how to record vocalists singing real jazz - and how he as bandleader should support them, which he usually did on the records. Of course, he was working with Etta Jones for so many years that he couldn't NOT have got those messages firmly in his soul.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, HutchFan said:

 

... And don't forget the two Charles Earland albums that Porter produced for Milestone.  More good stuff.  (I was listening to Front Burner yesterday. :)

 

Those albums are fierce!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JSngry said:

Lou's "disco" (I guess?) records deteriorated in quality, mo, not in playing, but in terms of production. Just...unimaginative, bad choices made, not good ones. DULL choices.

When he "came back", those records were "better", but the die was cast - Lou would make the same record, just with different songs. Over and over. AND over.

I mean, I love the guy, who doesn't, but let's be honest, he's comfort food. The recipe never changes (including the specific ingredients), and it's not something you want at every freaking meal for the rest of your life.

Jim, that WAS soul jazz, and I'm sure you know that. You can say the same about Grant Green, Hank Crawford, Houston Person, Gator, Milt Buckner, Wild Bill Davis and so on and so on. It wasn't supposed to be a pushing the envelope music; it was supposed to be entertainment for black adults.

Bob Weinstock used to say that the difference between Blue Note and Prestige was two days of rehearsals. Most people would be led to believe that the description meant that Weinstock thought Blue Note was better. I think it means that Prestige was better and I think Weinstock thought so, too, because he COULD have done it if he'd wanted to. Prestige was selling all kinds of records - even Irish, Greek and folk records. There was surely enough cashflow there to have paid for rehearsals that would, and did in Blue Note's case, focus the musicians on stretching their imaginations a bit more. But he didn't want that kind of music. He wanted Sonny Stitt behaviour, which Alfred couldn't live with.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hank Crawford made consistently excellent records, regardless of context/producers. Lou Donaldson did not.

Just because something is commercial doesn't mean it's all the same. There's good ways of doing it and not so good ways. In a producer's music, production choices matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and Weinstock wanted Esmond Edwards' gritty photos and designs on his covers, not Francis Woolf's and Reid Miles' sharp, artistic stuff.

 

R-2686143-1296531581.jpeg.jpg

 

 

R-6489475-1420430926-3142.jpeg.jpg

And then Don Schlitten following the same line - and Don COULD and DID make magnificent photos for his own label, so he was clearly under instruction at Prestige.

 R-4211948-1358683649-7148.png.jpg

R-2443458-1284349061.jpeg.jpg

MG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know what that has to do with Lou Donaldson's increasingly sub-par run of 70s Blue Note (and Cotillion!!!!) records, but ok.

Sophisticated Lou gets a pass (and a bit more, actually) but other than that....George Butler did not have the...you name it...to make the kind of record he thought he was making for Lou Donaldson. And then when Lou and Blue Note separated...my god...

You know, if you're making product for the marketplace, you - the producer - owe it to yourself to know your artist, first, but even more importantly, to know what a good record sounds like, and looks like. Everything - songs, arrangements, recording, mixing (and maybe mixing more than anything), just everything. Lou got good (enough) covers out of Blue Note, but in a market where his completion was Grover Washington and Hank Crawford...he allowed himself to be severely underserved by his labels.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Donaldson's 80s output... My curiosity was piqued by MG's recommendations, so I just ordered "Sweet Poppa Lou." 

R-3766479-1343560618-1092.jpeg.jpg

That rhythm section looks rock-solid. ... Couldn't find any tracks online. Looking forward to hearing this.

 

Edited by HutchFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Re: Donaldson's 80s output... My curiosity was piqued by MG's recommendations, so I just ordered "Sweet Poppa Lou." 

R-3766479-1343560618-1092.jpeg.jpg

That rhythm section looks rock-solid. ... Couldn't find any tracks online. Looking forward to hearing this.

 

It’s good.  Also check out Forgotten Man on Timeless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, mjzee said:

It’s good.  Also check out Forgotten Man on Timeless.

:tup Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get them all, they're all good, they're all about the same, and if you like one, you should like them all. 

Having said that, though, the one with Red is a cut above because Red Garland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm good with Lou thru Pretty Things (that's the last one that sounds like Alligator Boogaloo, right?), but not after.  I've heard a few of the post-comeback albums, the're ok but not like BN up thru the early '70s.  all of that is fine, IMHO.  Prestige made some nice records, different strokes for different folks - artists and audience.  Generally I prefer BN, but there are any number of things on Prestige that I love too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, mhatta said:

Oh, I forgot to mention this one...Dakota is great, but the very best Houston Person can be heard on this album.

 

I've just ordered this so you better be right about Houston! ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Pretty Things (that's the last one that sounds like Alligator Boogaloo, right?)

Correct unless you want to count the live date "The Scorpion", recorded late 1970, but not released until 1995.  I basically fall where you do on all of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean, this could have been so much better than this. SHOULD have been better than this.

I guess I could blame Lou for not really trying, but ultimately it's the producer's job to get everything right. Same tune, same chart (mostly) but just put more sex and less somnambulism into the thing. If them boots were made for walking, then this pillow was made for sleeping!

To the best of my knowledge, this record was not a hit, certainly didn't get played on the radio shows here that were playing other things of this overall ilk, so...if the object is to communicate to an audience, and the audience doesn't care about it, then the object has not been met. Simple as that, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn´t know there would be so much Lou Donaldson discussion on that thread, since I must admit as much as I like to listen to LD nothing really changed, I heard him twice in 1986 with Herman Foster, and later with organ players, but the music was quite the same like in the 50´s and 60´s. 

But a few years ago I was mislead and bought a LD CD which I thought that might be something new, and it was a 1974 BN, just boring, nothing else than boring and it was the only time that after one listenig I threw it into the garbage can. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, JSngry said:

Get them all, they're all good, they're all about the same, and if you like one, you should like them all. 

Having said that, though, the one with Red is a cut above because Red Garland.

Well, I adore the one and only Herman Foster. He's as crazy as Hamp and only Hamp can say that.

MG

7 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

I've just ordered this so you better be right about Houston! ;)

 

I love Dakota. The first soul jazz albums I bought - before I even heard the words - were by her. Spring 1960. She's a professional song-disrespecter :) Even disrespects her own stuff.

Can't go wrong with her, Houston Person or not.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/5/2021 at 3:51 PM, HutchFan said:

Dan and I are following the same "rules" that I devised for my 1970s blog project:

  • The music must have been recorded between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1989; the release date does not matter.
  • We've only selected albums, no compilations or box sets.
  • Each of us can select one recording per leader -- plus one more recording from the same artist as a co-leader. For example, I selected one recording by David Liebman (as a leader) and one recording by the band Liebman co-leads, Quest.  (Please note that Dan can also select Liebman recordings as a leader & co-leader.  Just because I selected them doesn't mean that he cannot.)  

A few more notes on the selection process: Dan and I compiled our lists separately.  We wanted to explore and select our recordings independently.  As a result, there are some albums that appear on both of our lists -- and, as you'd expect, many artists appear on both lists.   However, as we were finalizing our choices, we began to compare notes.  In a few cases, I deleted recordings when I saw that Dan would be covering them, freeing me up to add other recordings that I'd considered.  Dan did the same.  This allowed us to broaden the reach of our survey.

One little update on this project:  My collaborator Dan and I met last week and compared our final selections.  Turns out that there was only ONE album that appeared on both of our lists.  So I decided to let him cover it, and I picked up another one.   So now there are many artists that appear on both of our lists, but no albums are duplicated.

I think it worked out well.  It makes for a wider-ranging survey.  

Looking forward to the launch in January.  :) 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

One little update on this project:  My collaborator Dan and I met last week and compared our final selections.  Turns out that there was only ONE album that appeared on both of our lists.  So I decided to let him cover it, and I picked up another one.   So now there are many artists that appear on both of our lists, but no albums are duplicated.

I think it worked out well.  It makes for a wider-ranging survey.  

Looking forward to the launch in January.  :) 

Sounds good ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hutch Fan, if both your lists are ready, why wait for January?

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
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.