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Tapscott, Nimbus West and UGMAA - Favourites and recommendations


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It feels like the dust has now more or less settled on what has been, for me, one of most enjoyable reissue runs of recent years: the reissue (in some cases, first issue) of records by Horace Tapscott and his various peers and students on the West Coast, many of them on Nimbus West, and latterly on Dark Tree.

I can't speak for the rest of the board, but, given that I was pretty much unaware of all of these records 10 years ago, it has been a real pleasure to discover these.

My three favourites (hardly unexpected choices) are probably:

Horace Tapscott's The Call, which serves up everything I love about larger group jazz / Black American Music, with so much joy and colour. The vocal tracks work really well with it. 

Creative Arts Ensemble's One Step Out, again, so much colour and good use of vocals. Henry Franklin really keeps the whole thing alive.

Nate Morgan's Retribution, Repatriation, a bit different to the two above. this one sums up what I love most about modal/spiritual jazz, without sounding tired or underpractised.

That said, there've been a couple I've found less i interesting, like the dates led by Jesse Sharps.

What have been your standout discoveries?

Edited by Rabshakeh
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A number of excellent newer releases have been on Dark Tree Records.  I have been particularly enjoying "Robert Miranda's Home Ensemble: Live at Bing Theater."  It features not only Horace Tapscott but John Carter & Bobby Bradford.  

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, John L said:

A number of excellent newer releases have been on Dark Tree Records. 

That's a good point. I have edited the original post to include the label.

7 minutes ago, John L said:

I have been particularly enjoying "Robert Miranda's Home Ensemble: Live at Bing Theater."  It features not only Horace Tapscott but John Carter & Bobby Bradford.  

I really agree. The identification of Miranda as a major player on the scene has been one of the things I've most enjoyed about these reissued. I didn't really know him before, whereas he's a player whom I now look out for on other people's records. One of those great bassists who just makes everything better.

Edited by Rabshakeh
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Has the dust settled? It's not so long ago that Nimbus issued 'and Winds' for the first time and Mr Bongo have their live issue imminent.

I suspect the reactivated Nimbus will do more, I have no evidence to support this suspicion

At the risk of seeming contrary, the Jesse Sharps is a highlight for me, the Nimbus edition rather than the earlier Outer national.

The Dark Trees are consistently rewarding too 'The Call' was an old favourite and I think is probably the most focussed of the larger ensemble releases.

At the risk of diverting the thread, not reissued but absolutely marvellous is Miranda's solo recording 'The Creator's Musician'.

Don't sleep on 'Aiee! The Phantom ', not recently reissued but was an absolute revelation when I first heard it, many moons ago. Also on Arabesque 'Thoughts of Dar Es Salaam'

 

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1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

Has the dust settled? It's not so long ago that Nimbus issued 'and Winds' for the first time and Mr Bongo have their live issue imminent.

I suspect the reactivated Nimbus will do more, I have no evidence to support this suspicion

Maybe not. It feels like the flood has slowed a bit, maybe. It was seeing the 'And Winds' reissue this morning in OTO that made me want to start this thread.

1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

At the risk of seeming contrary, the Jesse Sharps is a highlight for me, the Nimbus edition rather than the earlier Outer national.

Okay. Need to give it another go. Are they the same record with different quality reissues or different records entirely?

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The 2CD release under the artist name 'Nimbus Collective' called Live In Lotus Land is mighty nice!  (Tangent: I file this under 'Nate Morgan', because he seems to be the leader on the date, best as I can tell, iirc.)

The Nimbus Collective – Live In Lotusland (2010, CD) - Discogs

I especially want to highlight the vibes player, Rickey Kelly -- who I think really, REALLY shines (on Lotus Land).  I'd LOVE for Kelly's sole Nimbus leader-date to be released on CD (specially on CD), as I don't really do vinyl much (though I think there's been a recent vinyl reissue) -- which I only know from some on-line samples (and maybe one(?) track I found on YouTube once?).

Edit: this is the one I’m talking about:

https://www.discogs.com/master/2134276-Rickey-Kelly-Limited-Stops-Only

This track is from his Limited Stops Only album, and probably is the only full track I’ve heard…

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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I know some of you think Jazz piano trio stuff is boring, but since I was an amateur pianist, I have a soft spot for piano trios.  Also, it can be debatable that Horace Tapscott was a good trio pianist (he was more like a composer/arranger/leader), he left several nice trio recordings.

My favorite is Dissent or Descent (Nimbus West).   A rendition of As A Child is breathtaking.  Fred Hopkins and Ben Riley provide very sympathetic support.

 

Also, don't forget Interplay recordings -- this Japanese label recorded Horace Tapscott several times.

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6 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

The identification of Miranda as a major player on the scene has been one of the things I've most enjoyed about these reissued. I didn't really know him before, whereas he's a player whom I now look out for on other people's records. One of those great bassists who just makes everything better.

Full agreement ....

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17 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

Maybe not. It feels like the flood has slowed a bit, maybe. It was seeing the 'And Winds' reissue this morning in OTO that made me want to start this thread.

Okay. Need to give it another go. Are they the same record with different quality reissues or different records entirely?

Same record, better sound I thought. The Outernational is cut at 45 and sounds a bit boomy (technical term).  

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On 8/6/2022 at 4:49 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

The 2CD release under the artist name 'Nimbus Collective' called Live In Lotus Land is mighty nice!  (Tangent: I file this under 'Nate Morgan', because he seems to be the leader on the date, best as I can tell, iirc.)

The Nimbus Collective – Live In Lotusland (2010, CD) - Discogs

I especially want to highlight the vibes player, Rickey Kelly -- who I think really, REALLY shines (on Lotus Land).  

Listening to this now. It's really really good.

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On 06/08/2022 at 4:49 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

I especially want to highlight the vibes player, Rickey Kelly -- who I think really, REALLY shines (on Lotus Land).  I'd LOVE for Kelly's sole Nimbus leader-date to be released on CD (specially on CD), as I don't really do vinyl much (though I think there's been a recent vinyl reissue) -- which I only know from some on-line samples (and maybe one(?) track I found on YouTube once?).

Edit: this is the one I’m talking about:

https://www.discogs.com/master/2134276-Rickey-Kelly-Limited-Stops-Only

Discogs claims he had two other leader dates.

His playing on the Nimbus Collective record is one of the best things I’ve heard in years.

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18 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

His playing on the Nimbus Collective record is one of the best things I’ve heard in years.

Everybody on that date is really good, but Kelly’s vibes-playing is really on a whole ‘nother level. Makes me really wish he’d recorded more — a LOT more.

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7 hours ago, colinmce said:

Nimbus made a couple interesting forays outside the US into the Dutch zone-- Curtis Clark's Dream Deferred and Ernst Reijseger & Alan Purves - TA are both excellent.

Clark is an interesting character. He does have LA connections as he studied at CalArts and worked in California with Dawn Muhammad (and probably met David Murray there).

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Great thread. I am addicted to Tapscott’s music. I remember the first time I heard him: that was on the Dark Tree. Did not knew what to think of it and left him and his music aside for way too long. When I heard the Call for the first time it clicked immediately and that’s when I really became a fan. 
 

What excited me most is that the whole UMCAA movement with all its artists and records almost seemed like a parallel and for me unexplored jazz universe. Mostly there are so many links between all the artists: everybody played with everybody and that’s how I got to know most jazz artists. But with these guys it was different. I explored so many names I did not knew and who really astonished me with their highly talented playing.

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