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Preview: Where did all this steam come from?

Where did all this steam come from?

Out-of-print and hard-to-find recordings from my own collection -- jazz, mostly, but not exclusively.

Updated: 2017-11-12T14:55:52.162-05:00


Entropy. Act fast!


It's been well over a year since I've updated this blog, but just a few months since I stopped paying to maintain my Rapidshare account. Now Rapidshare has begun the process of deleting files. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason in the deletion process, since some files disappeared long, long ago, but it seems pretty certain they eventually will all be gone. If you want any of this stuff -- and you should -- you oughta start clicking pretty quick.

Lucky Thompson: Tricotism (1956)


(image) Absolutely essential listening and criminally out of print in the US (Fresh Sounds has lately repackaged it in Spain, but it's hard to tell if they have any more legitimate rights to it that you and I do).

Thompson's rapport with Oscar Pettiford is wonderful, especially on the drummerless trio sessions. And the six quintet tunes are jewels of a type that most musicians have chosen to ignore since the rise of hard bop 50 long years ago, formulaic in their way but flawless.

Plus, despite the durability of the Pettiford's title tune, no one seems to have any idea what the hell tricotism might be.

On tracks #1-4 and 9-12
Lucky Thompson: ts
Clifton 'Skeeter' Best: g
Oscar Pettiford: b

On tracks #5-8 and 13-16
Lucky Thompson: ts
Jimmy Cleveland: tb
Hank Jones: p (#5-8)
Don Abney: p (13-16)
Osie Johnson (d)

1 Bo-Bi, My Boy
2 OP Meets LT
3 Tricotism
4 Deep Passion
5 Old Reliable
6 Translation
7 Tom-Kattin
8 A Lady's Vanity
9 Dancing Sunbeam
10 Mister Man
11 The Plain But the Simple Truth
12 Little Tenderfoot
13 Once There Was
14 N.R. #1
15 N.R. #2
16 Good Luck

All compositions by Lucky Thompson except #2 by Thompson and Oscar Pettiford, #3 by Pettiford, and #4, which, despite the title, is really "Body and Soul" (Johnny Green).

#1-4 recorded NYC, January 24, 1956
#5-8 recorded NYC, January 30, 1956
#9-12 recorded NYC, December 11, 1956
#13-16 recorded NYC, December 12, 1956

Jerry Granelli: A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing (1993)


This should sound familiar, chiefly because of the place of prominence given Bill Frisell both in the arrangements and in Lee Townsend's production. Townsend, you may recall, has produced umpteen of Frisell's own records and has done similar work for other artists who have tried to stake out territory between jazz and folk/Americana (none so well as Frisell, though)."A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing" is less self-consciously eclectic and hangs together better than other Granelli records because, despite the stellar cast of musicians and fresh arrangements of several familiar tunes, it doesn't try overly hard to be a jazz recording. Granelli is a masterful drummer, but never sounds like he's entirely comfortable too far away from a backbeat. The Buddy of the title is Buddy Bolden, and the album is inspired by the book "Coming Through Slaughter," but that's nothing you'd need to know to enjoy this. I can't hear it myself.Jerry Granelli - drums Kenny Garrett - alto saxophone Julian Priester - trombone Bill Frisell - guitar, banjo Robben Ford - guitar Anthony Cox - bassJ. Granelli - el. bass (#2, 5, 6, 9 and 10)Denny Goodhew - soprano saxophone (#6)1 Wanderlust (Johnny Hodges/Duke Ellington) 2 Smoky Row (Wayne Horvitz) 3 The Oyster Dance (Jerry Granelli) 4 Billie's Bounce (Charlie Parker) 5 Coming Through Slaughter (Jerry Granelli) 6 In That Number (Wayne Horvitz) 7 Prelude To Silence: Shell Beach/Lincoln Park (Julian Priester) 8 I Put A Spell On You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) 9 Blues Connotation (Ornette Coleman) 10 Blues Connotation (Reprise) (Ornette Coleman) Recorded January-February, 1992 at London Bridge Studio, Seattle, WA, USProduced by Lee Townsend320 kbps mp3 rip from Evidence CD 22057[...]

Bob Nell: Why I Like Coffee (1991)


(image) Any idiosyncratic pianist and composer from Montana who titles his sole recording under his own name "Why I Like Coffee" can probably count on not calling a lot of attention to himself. Feels more Canadian than high plains to me, with very strong playing from the core trio and fine contributions from guests Walrath and Anderson. Nell's playing and writing both run the gamut from modernist to postmodern, often within the space of a couple of bars, with arrangements to match.

Bob Nell: piano
Kelly Roberty: bass
Brad Edwards: drums
Jack Walrath: trumpet
Ray Anderson: trombone

1- Blues for KB (2:52)
2- Why I Like Coffee (8:37)
3- Emrem (6:14)
4- Nightspot (5:35)
5- Achromaticism (4:03)
6- Taking a Chance on Love (8:18)
7- Fashion Storage (6:27)
8- For Monk (6:47)
9- Cold Feet (4:50)

All compositions except Taking a Chance on Love By Bob Nell, published by Plechmo Music BMI
Taking a Chance on Love by Vernon Duke and John Latouche, published by EMI Music Publishing

Producer: Wayne Horvitz
Recorded at Skyline Studios, New York City, November 25 & 26, 1991

TanaReid (Akira Tana and Rufus Reid): Back to Front (19970


(image) Whether the world was actually waiting for Rufus Reid and Akira Tana to join forces and conjoin names-- a la Brad and Angelina -- is subject to debate. There's not much question, however, that TanaReid is one lame-ass handle.

I snagged this as soon as I saw it at the library without reading the credits carefully. I saw Reid's name (I'd been listening to him on Andrew Hill's Shades a lot) and Mark Turner's and took it home. A little later my heart sank when I saw that four of the 10 tunes here feature singers -- Grady Tate on two numbers, Barbara King on "Lazy Afternoon" and -- god help us -- a whole vocal sextet on another. I hate that kind of thing. But you know what? It all works (except for the vocal sextet piece, but even that sounds terrific when the singing stops). And you know what else? Reid and Tana have bigger, more engaging musical personalities than I ever would have guessed. Add Mark Turner to the mix and this John Stetch guy and you've really got something. There were, as of the release of this date, four prior TanaReid records, none of which I have ever set eyes on. I bet they're all pretty interesting. Too bad about the name, though. Oh — and the cover, too.

Rufus Reid: b
Akira Tana: dr
Craig Bailey: as, fl
Mark Turner: ts, ss
John Stetch: p
Barbara King: voc (#3)
Grady Tate: voc (#5, 7)
Grey Lienhard Voices: voc (#9)
  1. Mr. Brown (Mark Turner)
  2. Dream Catcher (Akira Tana)
  3. Lazy Afternoon (Moross/Latouche)
  4. Back to Front (Akira Tana)
  5. But Not For Me (George and Ira Gershwin)
  6. Embraceable You (George and Ira Gershwin)
  7. When She Smiles Upon Your Face (Rufus Reid)
  8. Green Grove (John Stetch)
  9. Perpetual Stroll (Janet Lawson/Rufus Reid)
  10. McWorld (John Stetch)
Recorded December 22, 1997 and January 4-9, 1998 at Hillside Sound, Englewood, NJ.
320 kbps mp3 rip from Evidence CD 22206-2

Leon Parker: Belief (1996)


(image) Parker is frequently called a "minimalist," but that applies mostly to his instrument -- often what sounds like a standard trap kit minus a high hat (it's striking how much real estate the ubiquitous high-hat takes up, and how much the music opens up when it's absent). On this record, his second as a leader, Parker plays more percussion than drum set, and all kinds of vistas appear. But Parker sounds like himself whatever you put in his hands. In that respect, he's like the pianist Jackie Terrasson, in whose trio Parker first attracted attention: a unique talent with huge mainstream appeal potential, who, for reasons unknown, fails to draw the audience he deserves.

Leon Parker: dr, voc, perc
Steve Wilson: saxophones, fl
Steve Davis: trb
Tom Harrell: trp, flgl
Lisa Parker: fl
Ugonna Okegwo: b
Adam Cruz: p, steel pan, marimba, perc
Natalie Cushman: perc, voc

Ray Of Light (5:45)
Village Song: Africa (2:51)
Close Your Eyes (5:59)
Calling Out (4:57)
Belief (5:53)
Horizon Azul (5:34)
Wide Open (4:10)
First Child (2:46)
In A Sentimental Mood (4:40)

Recorded at Sonalysts Studio, Waterford, CT, US

Lee Konitz: Rhapsody (1993)


(image) Seven very different sessions with seven combinations of players, ranging from duets to sextet, recorded over two months in 1993. What they have in common, of course, is Konitz, who has probably never repeated any three consecutive notes in the course of a 60+ year career.

1. I Hear A Rhapsody (Baker - Gasparre - Bard - Fragos)

Lee Konitz (as), Peggy Stern (p), Helen Merrill (vcl) [7-29-93]
2. Lo-Ko-Mo and Frizz (Konitz - Lovano - Motian - Frisell)
Lee Konitz (as, ss, ts), Joe Lovano (ss, ts, a-cl), Bill Frisell (g), Paul Motian (ds) [6-20-93]
3. The Aerie (Peggy Stern)
Lee Konitz (as), Peggy Stern (p), Ben Allison (b), Jeff Williams (ds), Jay Clayton (vcl) [6-23-
4. Trio #1 (Konitz - Mulligan - Stern)
Lee Konitz (ss), Gerry Mulligan (bar), Peggy Stern (p) [7-14-93]

5. All The Things You Are (Kern - Hammerstein)

Lee Konitz (ss), Jean Francois Prins (g), Judy Niemack (vcl) [7-7-93]

6. Exposition (Konitz, Bley, Guiffre, Peacock)

Lee Konitz (as, ss), Jimmy Giuffre (cl), Paul Bley (p), Gary Peacock (b) [6-21-93]
7. Flyin' - Mumbles and Jumbles (Konitz, Terry)
Lee Konitz (ss, vcl), Clark Terry (fgl, vcl) [7-7-93]

320 kbps rip of Evidence ECD 22117-2

Curtis Clark: Live at the Bimhuis (1988)


(image) Clark is a former ex-pat now relocated to New England. As a pianist, he is remarkably unbeholden to anyone, and his compositions are nearly as individual. This glorious, sprawling and wonderfully accessible date features a first-call quintet of European improvisers and does everything right.

Curtis Clark (piano)
Andy Sheppard (reeds)
Jan Piet Visser (harmonica)
Ernst Reijseger (cello)
Ernst Glerum (bass)
Louis Moholo (drums)

1. Reincarnation Of Biggar Thomas
2. With A Little Help Of (sic) My Friends (Lennon/McCartney)
3. Boo-Related
4. Deep Sea Diver
5. As Time Goes By (
6. Special Delivery
7. Strings Of Ecstasy - (For Django Reinhardt)
8. Boogie Stomp
9. Cosmic Minstrels - (For Amos & Andy)

All compositions by Curtis Clark except as noted.
Recorded October, 1988, Amsterdam.
160 kbps rip of Nimbus West CD.

Steve Lacy - Roswell Rudd Quartet: Early and Late (1962,1999, 2002)


(image) Very reminiscent of the "School Days" sessions, with identical instrumentation (Dennis Charles is the drummer on the earliest tracks) and several Monk tunes, but with much improved fidelity, not to mention four intervening decades of constant improvement and challenge by two of the most singular improvisers of the modern era. Neither Rudd nor Lacy ever stray too far from the broad humor and theatrical gestures they absorbed as Dixieland players in the 1950s, qualities that color even their most abstract or aggressive work and are especially evident here. The tunes recorded in 1999 and 2002 with Lacy's long-time rhythm section of Betsch and Avenel are more streamlined rhythmically than the 1962 session, but have the same adventurous and rollicking spirit.

All hail local libraries -- even the lowliest, most underfunded branches — whence came this.

UPDATE: I set my controls a few posts back for 160 kbps and haven't changed it back because the lower quality seems to address the ethical dilemma discussed in some detail in the comments for the Theo Bleckmann album. This one is, as has been noted, at 160 kbps, too.

Steve Lacy: ss
Roswell Rudd: trb

Jean-Jacques Avenel: b
John Betsch: dr
Dennis Charles: dr (#10-13)
Bob Cunningham: b (#10-13)

1. Rent, The
2. Bath, The
3. Hoot, The
4. Blinks
5. Light Blue
6. Bookioni

7. Bamako
8. Twelve Bars
9. Bone
10. Eronel (Take 2)
11. Tune 2
12. Think of One
13. Eronel (Take 3)

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 recorded at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, June 19, 1999.
Tracks 4,and 6 recorded at the Mat Bevel Institute, Tuscon, AZ, US, April 4, 1999.
Tracks 7 and 8 recorded at Iridium, NYC, August 9, 2002.
Tracks 10-13 recorded in NYC (demo session), October 9, 1962.

160 kbps rip from Cuneiform Records CD 250/251

Peter Fulda Trio: Little Box of Sea Wonders (2003)


(image) Fine Danish (I think) pianist, not quite like anyone else I can think of, plenty atmospheric but with some cojones, you know? Plus it's got Bill Elgart on it. What can I say?

Peter Fulda
- piano
Henning Sieverts - bass
Bill Elgart - drums

  1. Mater Suspiriorum
  2. Little Box Of Sea-Wonders
  3. Eronel
  4. Tango
  5. War Of The Seaweed
  6. For Real Moments
  7. Revenge Of The Seaweed
  8. The Reptile
  9. Coral Scents
  10. Dead Sea
  11. Israel
  12. The Unhappy Happy
Discographical info unknown. 320 kbps mp3 rip from eMusic download of Jazz'n'Arts CD JNA 2003.

Florian Ross Trio: Blinds and Shades (2003)


(image) Ross' tunes are instantly memorable. Play this once, set it aside for six months and then play it again, and it's a sure thing you'll remember most of tunes on this date.

Scouting for discographical info (eMusic offered its usual "Who, me?" attitude when I downloaded this a few years back; the 2003 date above could be either the recording date or release date) I found reviews that cited Keith Jarrett's Standards trio, John Taylor, and Bill Evans as primary points of departure for this trio. Personally, I don't hear much of the above -- although I do hear a compositional debt to Bill Evans in some of the tunes, and I suppose there's a European flavor to this (Ross is based in Cologne). But mostly, this sounds like nothing so much as this particular Florian Ross trio. Prior and subsequent trios are wonderful, too, but sound like something different, which is as it should be, right? And, oh, yeah: this has got Hollenbeck, too. He's always a mother.

Florian Ross (p)
Remi Vignolo (b)
John Hollenback (ds) tracks 1-6
Martijn Vink (ds) tracks 7-9

  1. Soundcheck
  2. Toss & Turn
  3. Ev'ry Now and Then (Pause and Think Again)
  4. Getting There (Is Half the Fun)
  5. Grande Tristesse
  6. Farewell
  7. Bookend
  8. Julia
  9. Bye Bye Blackbird
  10. Goodbye
All compositions by Florian Ross except #9, by Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon.
320 kbps mp3 rip from eMusic download of Intuition CD 33722

Cyrus Chestnut: Revelation (1993)


(image) Chestnut settled early and comfortably into the one of the most conservative corners of the jazz mainstream. I'm not talking just Wynton conservative; I'm talking Oscar Peterson conservative (Chestnut would be right at home playing goodwill State Department gigs overseas if US taxpayers still funded such enterprises). Unfortunately, this has kept him too long out-of-mind for snotty and usually judgmental listeners like me, who typically like some edge in their music. There is, it's true, precious little edge to be found here. But, like Peterson's work, what Revelation lacks in adventure, it more than makes up for in other ways -- principally Chestnut's prodigious chops and obvious enthusiasm for navigating familiar blues forms, and the invigorating interplay of a trio that hits on all cylinders throughout.

Cyrus Chestnut: p
Christopher J. Thomas: b
Clarence Penn: d
  1. Blues For Nita
  2. Elegie
  3. Lord, Lord, Lord
  4. Macdaddy
  5. Sweet Hour Of Prayer
  6. Little Ditty
  7. 187
  8. Dilemmas
  9. Revelation
  10. Proverbial Lament
  11. Cornbread Pudding
All compositions by Cyrus Chestnut except #2 by Jules Massenet and #5 (Traditional).

Recorded at Clinton Studios, Studio B, New York, New York on June 7 & 8, 1993.

320 kbps mp3 rip from a library copy of Atlantic CD 82518.

Did you hear Michael Jackson died?


(image) I like to think he's jammin' in heaven right now with Sky Saxon and Karl Malden and Farrah Fawcett and making some of the worst music anyone ever heard.

In belated commemoration of his untimely death (or timely death, depending on how you measure success), here's a reminder of the other Michael Jackson — Michael Gregory Jackson — by way of an LP rip I posted months and months ago that you might have overlooked. Seriously badass guitar player, composer and singer, fortunately still alive and well, who created a whole different kind of music alongside Oliver Lake and other heavy hitters in the early-to-mid 70s. This is his second album from 1979, featuring Marty Ehrlich and Baikida Carroll and others
(the first, a drummer-less trio on ESP-Disk is wonderful too and still available in the irregular manner of that label's output). Now with a picture of the correct cover, and appropriately tagged. Turn it up and amaze your friends at your holiday barbeque.

Trio M (Melford/Dresser/Wilson): Big Picture (2006)


(image) I've posted this in 160 kbps, because the album is in print and easily available. For the time being, the lower bitrate strikes me as an acceptable compromise that allows me to put this music in front of people who might not know about it otherwise. Presumably, youb'll like what you hear and support the artists by shelling out for the CDs, preferably at your local independent record store or direct from the artists. Just because it's acceptable to me, of course, doesn't guarantee it'll be acceptable to you. If you have qualms about downloading extraordinary music at a lower bitrate than you'd prefer, consider going elsewhere. No hard feelings.

This trio comprises players with prodigious techniques and a world of experience among them. The music caroms inside and out as they see fit, but never gets daunting. Wilson, as always, brings plenty of levity to the proceedings, lifting the darkest of Melford's Eastern European tendencies up out of the gloom, and Dresser sounds more relaxed than I've ever heard him, with some stunning arco work. It's as hip a piano trio as you're likely to hear any time soon.

The order of the songs on the file you download is incorrect for reasons I cannot begin to account for. The order below is the right one.

Myra Melford: p
Mark Dresser: b
Matt Wilson: dr

1. brainFire and bugLight (Melford) 7:36
2. For Bradford (Dresser) 5:15
3. Naive Art (Wilson) 5:43
4. Big Picture (Melford) 13:21
5. Modern Pine (Dresser) 6:54
6. Secrets to Tell You (Melford) 6:02
7. FreeKonomics (Wilson) 5:25

Recorded at Acoustic Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY, December 18, 2006
160 kbps mp3 from Cryptogramophone CD CG134

The Phillip Wilson Project


A tribute the great St. Louis drummer Phillip Wilson, who was a seminal early figure in the AACM and went on to record with virtually every major figure in the creative improvisational music scene until he was murdered in 1992 at the age of 50. There are three previously unreleased trio tunes with Lester Bowie and William Parker that are nearly a good as they ought to be, two terrific ones from a Frank Lowe record I know nothing about called "Inappropriate Choices," and two tunes Wilson co-wrote with Bill Laswell that sound to me like everything else Laswell gets his hands on — murky, dense, and not particularly listenable.There's a very affectionate remembrance of Wilson from a St. Louis writer here, and a few blurry photos of Wilson here. The photo above in lieu of album art is from the latter site and credited to Franco Cattina. Otherwise there is a criminal paucity of information to be found on line about this wonderful and lamented musician.Phillip Wilson: drLester Bowie: tr (1, 2, 5) William Parker: b (1, 2, 5) Frank Lowe: ts (3, 4) Carlos Ward: fl, as (3, 4) James Carter: bari (4) Michael Marcus: as (4) Jonas Hellborg: b (6, 7) Bill Laswell: DMX (6, 7) Rob Stevens: p (6) Cool (Bowie) (7:12)Philadelphia (Wilson) (9:23)Inappropriate Choices (Lowe) (4:46)El Haz Malik Shabazz (Lowe) (5:12)Steel And Breath (Wilson) (5:52)Baliphone Dub (Laswell/Wilson) (4:26)Gammatron (Laswell/Wilson) (5:22)Recorded at Green Point Studios, N.Y.C., April, 1991 & at Evergreen Studios N.Y.C., 1985(I don't know which sessions were recorded when)320 kbps mp3 rip from Jazz Door CD 1243. [...]

Wolfgang Lackerschmid: One More Life (1991/1992)


(image) A horrible cover to be sure, but some really fine music inside.

Lackerschmid covers a lot of stylistic ground, a lot of it reminiscent of the Jarrett/Burton recordings of the early 70's (as you might expect given the instrumentation on four of the six tunes). The songs with different personnel are cut from different cloth. Kenny Wheeler and Christoph Lauer take "Iris in the Rain" into the places you'd expect them to go, and the tune with Ray Pizzi on soprano is an very sweet little world music kind of romp. "No Greater Lunch" is an unpretentious swinger, but fails to live up to its wonderful title. Bill Elgart is his usual fabulous self.

Lackerschmid is apparently very well known in Europe, but this was the first and, so far, only work of his I've heard.

An eMusic download from ages ago, so there is no discographical information beyond what I was able to scrounge online. Who wrote these songs? I have no idea. And apparently eMusic didn't want me to know.

On #1-5
Wolfgang Lackerschmid: vb, perc
Milcho Leviev: p
Henning Sieverts: b
Bill Elgart: dr

On #5
add Ray Pizzi: ss

On #6
Kenny Wheeler: tp
Christoph Lauer: ts
Joachim Kühn: p
Palle Daniesson: b
Billy Hart: dr

On #7
Donald Johnston: p
Rocky Knauer: b
Bill Elgart: dr

1. One More Life 6:07
2. Bad Party 5:17
3. Schneeballschlacht 10:04
4. Ten-Sion 5:40
5. Baiao Kathrin 4:05
6. Iris In The Rain 13:39
7. No Greater Lunch 6:42

Theo Bleckmann: Origami (2000)


(image) If you haven't heard him, you have no idea what kind of music Theo Bleckmann makes.

His mostly-worldless vocals create the same kind of atmosphere I like in early church music. The sense is that I've stumbled into the midst of some kind of ritual I don't understand but immediately recognize as significant — so I shut up and listen carefully.

The solemn and sometimes even glacial pace is pretty much constant throughout this recording, but that doesn't tell you much. Nor does it help to note that Bleckmann mixes jazz instrumentation, electronics and the most organic instrument of all to somehow recast Tin Pan Alley standards as the soundtrack for the moment after death when your soul floats toward the ceiling.

It's hard to tell how much is improvised, so I suppose it may not even qualify as jazz "as we know it." But it's really, really good.

Bleckmann's discography lists eleven recordings he leads or co-leads, so you should, you know,
go buy some.

Theo Bleckmann [voice, piano, live electronics]
Ben Monder [guitar]
Matt Moran [vibraphone]
Skuli Sverrisson [electric bass]
John Hollenbeck [drums, percussion]

  1. DNA
  2. Douce dame jolie (Machaut)
  3. None of the Above
  4. Origami
  5. Static Still
  6. Alloy
  7. I Remember You (Mercer/Schertzinger)
  8. Like Brother and Sister (Montano)
  9. Nova Scotia
  10. An den kleinen Radioapparat (Eisler/Brecht)
  11. Without Sky
  12. Rhombicosidodecahedron
  13. Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries (Brown/Henderson)
December 2000, NYC
Compositions by Theo Bleckmann except as noted.
320 kbps mp3 rip from an eMusic download of Songlines CD 1534

Lee Konitz: Strings for Holiday (1996)


0(image) Konitz is always ridiculous, but this album is, so far as I know, unique in his enormous discography. His solo turns here are usually just a chorus or two, and never stray too far afield from the lyric intent of the song, as much homage to Lester Young as to Billie Holiday. And Daniel Schnyder's string arrangements work perfectly.

Lee Konitz (as)

Mark Feldman, Cenovia Cummins (vln)

Jill Jaffe, Ronald Lawrence (viola)

rik Friedlander, Daniel Pezzotti (violincello)
Michael Formanek (b)

Matt Wilson (ds)

Daniel Schnyder (arranger)

01. The Man I Love
02. You've Changed
03. God Bless The Child
04. But Beautiful
05. I Cried For You
06. Lover Man
07. All Of Me
08. Good Morning Heartache
09. For Heaven's Sake
10. Easy Living

11. These Foolish Things

12. For All We Know

March 18 and 19, 1996, Chung King Studio, NYC

320 kbps mp3 rip from Enja CD ENJ-9304-2)

The Blueprint Project (2003)


(image) Good playing and often memorable songwriting from these three young players from Boston, a scene that's thriving but under-documented. Hired hands Wilson and McBee are engaged enough throughout so they don't sound like ringers. Pianist Roger's "Until We Have Names" will stick in your craw for a long time, and his other two contributions are almost as good. The other tunes on the all-original program are less distinctive but offer interesting frameworks for improvisation, which is spirited and only occasionally too deliberately whimsical for my taste (i.e., Sims' soprano on "The Old Country"). Your results may vary.

Speaking of funny things, Matt Wilson is one of the wittiest players you'll ever hear on any instrument, and is not to be missed if you ever get the chance to see him perform. Fun for the whole family! And Han Bennink played on the subsequent Blueprint Project album.
These guys seem to go for the funny drummers.

Additional fun fact: This record was mixed by Chris Stamey, the guy who co-led powerpop legends the dBs. I think that's pretty cool.

Jared Sims- Sax
Eric Hofbauer- Guitar
Tyson Rogers- Piano
Cecil McBee- Bass
Matt Wilson- Drums

The High Priest's Sermon (Hofbauer)
2. Until We Have Names (Rogers)
3. Abdullah (Rogers)
4. Bench Carvin' (Hofbauer)
5. The Old County (Sims)
6. Molecular Mischief (Hofbauer)
7. Monkey (Sims)
8. Dead Mouse Blues (Rogers)

Recorded Chapel Hill, NC, likely in 2003
320 kbps mp3 rip from Creative Nation Music CD 004

Gary Peacock and Bill Frisell: Just So Happens (1994)


(image) Outside of musician circles, Frisell was not a well-known player when these duets were recorded in 1994. But in the years since, the guitarist has released probably twice as many records under his own name as Peacock has in the course of his 40-plus-year career. That may have something to do with how guitarists sell more records than bass players as a general thing, or it may be the result of recording industry conspiracy, but whatever the reason, it's a shame. Peacock is a fine composer, and comfortable in the role of leader. Even while Frisell indulges his now-trademark penchant for Americana and major triads, Peacock is by far the more confident and powerful voice, as per the second of the two very different versions of "Home on the Range." That's not to denigrate Frisell, though. It's striking how fully-developed his conception was almost from the beginning, and he pretty much invented a genre all his own. That's no small thing.

Gary Peacock: bass
Bill Frisell: electric guitar (acoustic guitar on #9)

  1. Only Now - 4:40 (Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell)
  2. In Walked Po - 6:14 (Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell)
  3. Wapitis Dream - 3:21 (Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell)
  4. Home On The Range - 3:30 (Traditional)
  5. Home On The Range - 5:05 (Traditional)
  6. Through A Skylight - 2:53 (Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell)
  7. Red River Valley - 3:01 (Traditional)
  8. Reciprocity - 4:34 (Gary Peacock)
  9. Good Morning Heartache - 5:25 (Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher, Irene Higginbotham)
  10. N.O.M.B. - 4:53 (Gary Peacock)
  11. Just So Happens - 7:54 (Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell)

February 17 & 18, 1994, Electric Lady Studios, New York City
320 kbps mp3 rip from Postcards CD 1005

Oliver Lake Trio : Zaki (1979)


(image) It's probably evident to the three or four of you who actually read this blog (as opposed to those of you who only mine it for the download links and then leave without a by-your-leave -- hello? Hello?) that I have a sentimental attachment to the mid-to-late 1970s period of creative improvisational music. All was bleak in the world of pop music until punk happened, but it was plenty lively in jazz, what with all those dozens of hip Arista Freedom albums making it to these shores for the first time, Braxton at his friendliest and Miles at his most impenetrable, tons of flourishing small labels turning up in the bigger record store, and, not least, Oliver Lake, who was able to record a lot in those days -- both his own projects and as part of the World Saxophone Quartet.

No one sounded like this trio then, and no one else has since.
These guys sounded like they were perfectly mindful of every note the others played, and it all fits together like a mosaic. Even at its most out, the music is spacious enough to offer plenty of points of entry.

Still in print, if not always easy to find. Pricey, but you should buy it anyway.

Oliver Lake: ss, as, ts
Michael Gregory Jackson: g
Pheeroan akLaff: dr

  1. Zaki (24:55)
  2. Clicker (10:21)
  3. Shine (14:17)
  4. 5/1 (5:28)
  5. Zaki (1:32)

Recorded September 1st, 1979 live at Jazzfestival Willisau '79
320 kbps mp3 from Hat ART 6113 (later re-issued as hat OLOGY 639)

UPDATE: An excellent audience recording of the same trio a week later, available here. The fidelity isn't as good, but the performance is even better.

Ben Waltzer: In Metropolitan Motion (1999)


(image) Another jewel from the dimly-lit jazz section at eMusic, where improvised music is tossed to gather dust, destined to be found only by the profoundest serendipity. Cleaver, Lightcap and McHenry, all fire-breathers today, were mere pups when this was recorded, but all sound terrific and identifiably themselves. As for Waltzer, I don't know anything except this record and a trio session from the same source (with Reid Anderson and Jordi Rossy), that he's connected to the jazz department at Columbia, and that he can apparently play absolutely anything he has a mind to.

Ben Waltzer (p)
Bill McHenry (ts)
Gerald Cleaver (d)
Chris Lightcap (b)
Mohammed Naseehu Ali (d, djimbe)

1. El abandono (B.Waltzer)
2. Crooked Timber (B.Waltzer)
3. La Ville Tentaculaire (B.Waltzer)
4. Par(Nas)Se (B.Waltzer)
5. Rumination, Prenzlauerberg (B.Waltzer)
6. Kira Da Anshi (I) (M.Naseehu Ali-G.Cleaver)
7. Arbella (B.Waltzer)
8. Bass Line (B.McHenry)
9. The Blonde Bedouin (B.Waltzer)
10.Rumination, Orianenburh Str (B.Waltzer)
11.Kira Da Anshi (II) (M.Naseehu Ali-G.Cleaver)
12.Sooky-Sooky Now (B.Waltzer)
13.Prelude #4 (D.Shostakovich)
14.Layla’s Dream (B.Waltzer)
15.Port Royal (B.Waltzer)
16.Rumination, Dasein Blues (B.Waltzer)

Recorded in New Jersey, October 6-7, December 11, 1999

Jane Bunnett, Stanley Cowell, Dewey Redman: Spirituals and Dedications (2001)


(image) Now that I've rediscovered this record, I'm off to do my homework. You don't know Jane Bunnett either? Shame on us both. Excellent credentials: she studied soprano with Steve Lacy, recorded and toured extensively with Don Pullen, and was way ahead of the curve in bringing Cuban music to North American audiences. Keeps good company, too — Cowell is magnificent on this date. She'd almost certainly be better known if she were male and not Canadian, but the good news is she has health insurance where lots of better-known US musicians don't, so maybe it all comes out in the wash.

Jane Bunnett : flute, soprano saxophone
Stanley Cowell : piano
Dewey Redman : tenor saxophone
Dean Bowman : voice
Larry Cramer : flugelhorn,trumpet
Kieran Overs : acoustic bass
Mark McLean : drums

1. Don's Light (Jane Bunnett)
2. A Laugh For Rory (Rahsaan Roland Kirk)
3. I'm Gonna Tell God (Traditional)
4. Illusion Suite (Stanley Cowell)
5. Shadrack (Robert MacGimsey)
6. Cal Massey (Stanley Cowell)
7. Powerful Paul Robeson (Clifford Jordan)
8. Nobody Knows (Traditional)
9. Ecclusiastics (Charles Mingus)
10. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (Traditional)

Recorded February 25 & 26, 2001
eMusic download of Justin Time CD

Stephon Harris, Jason Moran, Greg Osby, Mark Shim: New Directions (1999)


(image) Most of the material here recycles familiar tunes from the pre-self-congratulatory phase of Blue Note history, tunes from the label's popular heyday that lend themselves to re-imagining at the hands of these challenging and very gifted young (ca. 1999) players.

Recycling in this case is not to be confused with down-cycling. The skewed arrangements uncover
plenty of unexpected harmonic turns and rhythmic fillips while retaining much of the material's original contours; no one would mistake this for a bunch of guys reading out of the Real Book. This was a working band for a while, and it sounds like one. The playing is meaty and rewarding throughout. Moran, in particular — and as always — is a mother.

Greg Osby: as
Mark Shim: ts
Stefon Harris: vib
Jason Moran: p
Taurus Mateen: b
Nasheet Waits: dr

  1. Theme from "Blow-Up" (Hancock)
  2. The Sidewinder (Morgan)
  3. Ping-Pong (Shorter)
  4. Beatrice (Rivers)
  5. No Room For Squares (Mobley)
  6. Song For My Father (Silver)
  7. Tom Thumb (Shorter)
  8. Commentary On Electrical Switches (Osby)
  9. Big Bertha (Pearson)
  10. Recorda Me (Henderson)
  11. Song Of The Whispering Banshee (Harris)
  12. 20 Questions [false start] (Osby)
  13. 20 Questions (Osby)
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on May 10-11, 1999. Produced by Greg Osby and Michael Cuscuna.

Thomas Chapin: You Don't Know Me (1994)


A deluge of work by bassist Mario Pavone recently dropped elsewhere sent me back to the Thomas Chapin stuff I own, and I pulled this one out because I suspected — rightly, it turns out — that I'd been somehow oblivious to its charms last time I played it. It struck me then that this was an unrepentant bid for mainstream attention, and maybe the inclusion of the title tune, a country standard (famously covered by Ray Charles but co-written by Eddy Arnold) played with heart on sleeve and without even a hint of irony, supports that theory. But given the stellar accompaniment and Chapin's usual intensity throughout, nothing here qualifies as a sellout. While it doesn't break any new ground, it doesn't have to, and this is bit as good in its less-adventurous way as any of Chapin's other work -- which is to say, it's very good indeed. Thomas Chapin: alto and mezzo-sporano saxophones, fluteTom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn Peter Madsen: piano Kiyoto Fujiwara: bass Reggie Nicholson: drums Safari Notebook (Chapin) 1. Izzit? 2. Kaokoland 3. Kunene 4. Opuwo 5. Namibian Sunset 6. Kura Kura (Chapin) 7. Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins) 8. You Don't Know Me (Cindy Walker/Eddy Arnold)Recorded August 23 -24, 1994, at RPM Sound Studios, NYC320 kbps mp3 rip from Arabesque CD AJ0113[...]