Monday, October 29, 2007

Joseph Jarman & Famoudou Don Moye: Black Paladins


1. Mama Marimba
2. In Memory of My Seasons
3. Humility in the Light of the Creator
4. Black Paladins
5. Ginger Song
6. Ode to Wilbur Ware


Henry Dumas - Poetry
Johnny Dyani - Bass, Piano, Tambourine, Vocals, Multi Instruments
Joseph Jarman - Flute, Clarinet (Bass), Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor), Voices, Multi Instruments, Conch, Bamboo Flute, Sax (Soprano)
Famoudou Don Moye - Percussion, Drums, Multi Instruments
Isio Saba - Photography
Gigi Barbieri- Cover Art
Giancarlo Barigozzi - Engineer
Giovanni Bonandrini - Producer
Lee Jeske - Liner Notes

The review from AMG:
During the '70s, Art Ensemble of Chicago members Joseph Jarman and Famoudou Don Moye often performed outside the band as a duo, sometimes bringing in other musicians. Here, they made the inspired choice of the late, great South African bassist Johnny Dyani (founding member of the Blue Notes and long-time collaborator with musicians such as Abdullah Ibrahim and John Tchicai) resulting in a buoyant, joyful release. Dyani's opening "Mama Marimba," propelled by both his bass and voice, is an exceptionally infectious number and contrasts wonderfully with Jarman's ensuing "In Memory of My Seasons," a misty dirge featuring the composer's haunting flute work. Moye is ablaze throughout, notably backing Jarman's lovely sopranino on "Ginger Song," and Dyani's deep, throbbing bass is a joy. On the closing piece, "Ode to Wilbur Ware," the bass groove is as thick as honey, providing the framework for elaborate, coloristic percussion and plaintive bamboo flute, bringing the album to a rich, satisfying conclusion. Black Paladins was the Jarman/Moye duo's most successful effort, and one of the most rewarding projects either was involved with outside of the Art Ensemble. A delicious recording.
That it is. Hope y'all enjoy this one as much as I do.

Recorded December 19 & 20, 1979 and released in 1980.

Download Black Paladins, or on sharebee.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Franklin Kiermyer: In the House of My Fathers


1. For the Time Being
2. In the House of My Fathers
3. Kairos
4. Black Jack
5. For the Kindness of Strangers
6. The Julia Set
7. Peace on Earth
8. Shoes for People


Franklin Kiermyer - drums
Dave Douglas - trumpet
John Stubblefield - tenor & soprano sax
John Esposito - piano
Anthony Cox - bass
Drew Gress - bass
Chris Gekker - trumpet
John Rojak - trombone
Dan Grabois - horn
Dave Braynard - tuba
Tom Chess - guitar
Eric St. Laurent -guitar

Released 1993 on Konnex (cat. # 5052)

As I understand it, the title track comes from the invocation sung before reading from the Torah. This recording contains early versions of "Peace on Earth" (which would later appear on Solomon's Daughter - released on Evidence, 1994) and "Kairos" (from the album Kairos - released on Evidence, 1996). The vibe I get from the liner notes to his other albums, as well as from hearing the music itself, is that Kiermyer is very influenced by John Coltrane's Impulse!-era recordings. On Kiermyer's later albums, he works as part of a quartet that definitely touches on Trane's classic quartet. Of course the degrees of separation between Kiermyer and Trane are minimal to begin with - former Trane band mate, Pharoah Sanders, appears extensively on the album Solomon's Daughter.

As for the recordings on this album, the best reference point would be Trane's Africa/Brass sessions and A Love Supreme filtered through Hebrew and Tibetan Buddhist spirituality. It's a beautiful recording that deserves more recognition than it appears to have received. It also appears that Kiermyer has ceased recording jazz albums following his 1999 CD, Sanctification (released on his own Sunship label). Recordings on the Evidence and Sunship labels are still in print and worth picking up if you dig on classic quartet era Coltrane. Check out his website Mobility Music to see what he's been up to.

Download In the House of My Fathers

Grachan Moncur III: Echoes of a Prayer


1. Prologue
2. Angela's Angel 1
3. Right On 1
4. Right On 3


Carla Bley - Piano
Mark Elf - Guitar
Charlie Haden - Bass
Beaver Harris - Drums
Jack Jeffers - Trombone (Bass)
Leroy Jenkins - Violin
Cecil McBee - Bass
Grachan Moncur III - Trombone, Composer, Conductor, Vocals
Ngonia - Violin
Stafford Osborne - Trumpet
Pat Patrick - Flute
Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson - Trumpet
Janice Robinson - Trombone
Perry Robinson - Clarinet
Tawana Dance Ensemble - Orchestra
Carlos Ward - Flute, Sax (Alto)

A review from
Trombonist Grachan Moncur, one of the unsung heroes of the avant-garde, has recorded far too infrequently as a leader through the years. This obscure LP, his fourth major project, preceded a long period in obscurity. The Jazz Composers Orchestra commissioned the lengthy four-movement piece "Echoes of Prayer" from Moncur, and the all-star orchestra performs the work with its composer. Among the soloists during the many sections are Moncur, altoist Carlos Ward, both Cecil McBee and Charlie Haden on basses, Pat Patrick on flute, trumpeter Marvin Hannibal Peterson, violinist Leroy Jenkins and clarinetist Perry Robinson. Also on the album are a dance ensemble (who play percussion) and the voices of Jeanne Lee and Mervine Grady. The music is quite advanced, sometimes pretty dense, and will take a few listens to fully digest.
Probably the most accessible track on the album is Angela's Angel 1, followed by Right On 1 (which begins with the theme initially stated on Angela's Angel 1) and Right On 3 (which reprises Angela's Angel near the middle portion of the track). His work as a band leader on the Blue Note label during the 1960s (as well as a sideman for Jackie McLean's classic Blue Note recordings during the early to mid 1960s), and BYG around 1969-1970 were routinely excellent, and this album is no exception. It's a shame that this has yet to see a proper reissue.

Released on JCOA, April 11, 1974

Download Echoes of a Prayer

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wendell Harrison and the Tribe: An Evening With the Devil


1. Mary Had An Abortion
2. Where Am I ?
3. Vol II Angry Young Man Part I
4. Vol II Angry Young Man Part II
5. Consciousness
6. Rebirth


Wendell Harrison - tenor sax & miscellaneous instruments
Marcus Belgrave - flugel horn & miscellaneous instruments
Charles Moore - trumpet & miscellaneous instruments
Will Austin - bass
Charles Eubanks - electric piano & miscellaneous instruments
Ike Daney - drums & miscellaneous instruments
Phillip Ranelin - trombone & miscellaneous instruments
Black Messengers, Oba and Vajava - poetry

Released on TRIBE Records (PRSD-2212), November 30, 1972.

The liner notes (any typos are likely mine):
If you have observed the cover of this album then you definetely have concluded that it is rather unusual. This is specially true when you think of all the different kinds of designs, sketches and pictures that most record L.P.'s portray these days. The great majority of today´s record covers usually deal to very little or no relation to what's inside. Instead of spotlighting some facet of the music to be heard you generally get a picture of some sexy young lady, a very colorful picture of an abstract painting or maybe a psychadelic setting with a group of people displaying the latest in women's or men's apparel. Now these types of covers may look attractive and are nice conversation pieces to display around the house to friends and relatives who drop by to visit. But in the final analysis we, as listeners, must remember that the most important ingredient is the music. The musicians and the instruments are subordinate to it. This is apparent regardless of what type of music you enjoy listening to. However, there are some rare occasions when you find that the L.P. cover blends with the music inside of it and enables the listener to profit from that L.P. inside and outside. Tenor saxophonist, Wendell Harrison and his group, the Tribe, have achieved that goal with their latest offering "An Evening With The Devil".

Although the outer part of the cover is an astrological chart of Wendell you don't have to be a student of astrology to understand it. For you see my friends the struggle of man to try and balance the scales of justice within his society has been evident, like astrology, since man first appeared. I use the term justice rather than "law and order" because justice, in my mind´s eye, stands for man trying to improve his conditions and continue to grow in mind, body and spirit. While on the other hand, the term "law and order" coined by the Nixon administration, talks about restricting man and placing him into a setting whereby his behavior conforms to a particular standard and thereby his growth is stopped before it can nourish and develop properly.

In an enterview with Wendell about the album cover, the Tribe, and their music he has the following comments to make. "The album cover which was done by my wife Pat, represents two things. A man in the nude is kneeling with his head pointing downward and in one hand he is holding the head of a skull, while in the other hand he is holding the foot of the system or establishment that we live under in this country. One stands for the head of the system and the other stands for the foot of it. The skull represents the intellect and the skillful intellectual propaganda that's going down both internally and externally. Included in this category is the businessman on Wall Street who owns and operate all of the major corporations within the country. With their finances and influence they dictate the governmental policies which create the negative vibrations that are opressing, disabling, and killing millions of people in Viet Nam, Africa, Latin America, and America by means of war in the name of democracy. War is profitable from an economical stand point and therefore the economy of the country is dependent upon it to survive. You also have the cunning intellectual ways of the law, by way of its Supreme Courts that legislate against the true rights of the people and deny them an equal opportunity with smoke screen issues like housing, civil rights and busing. This is balanced on the other hand or scale by the foot of the system. This brings into play your police forces like STRESS (Stop The Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets) in Detroit, a special detachment, who harass black people without a justifiable cause. Then there's the total ripoffs that hapens within the prisions like Attica in N.Y. and the underground things like dope, prostitution, numbers racket and abortion. Actually what it is saying is that you have your upper and lower structure of the system. All these things are represented by the man in the nude and directly above him is the all-seeing eye that symbolizes the Creator of the planet observing all of these things that are taking place below. These life styles and forces are placed in the center of an astrological chart of myself wich is symbolic of every black person within the community trying to balance this hell of a monster.

"The Tribe is an extension of the tribes in the villages of Africa, our mother country. In Africa everyone had a talent to display. There were no superstars: just people and collectively all the people of the village played a vital role in shaping that culture. We see all black communities within this country as villages and the tribes are the people residing within them. The Tribe is composed of creative artists from the Metropolitan Detroit area who have travelled extensively with many well known musicians and have returned with the intention of sharing these experiences with our people in order to broaden the cultural base in this city. They are some of the most original and creative artists in the area. We hope to bring out points, situations and events that are happening in our communities by way of music, poetry, dance and rapping to the people. You see pure music must reflect the environment that we live in if it is to be educational and beneficial to our culture. It must portray our way of life. At this point in our history, harmony for the most part, is not reflected in our communities. There's a lot of rebellious tension and discord, even though we have some groovy or harmonious moments along the way. There are many people within this society, black and white, who don't understand what is happening in regards to the direction the black musicians are moving toward. Our music is reflecting more so than ever before the stress, tension and discord that is taking places within our communities along with the positive and harmonious things happening. This is evident when one listens to the music of composers like the late John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Ornette Coleman and the late Albert Ayler. These guys understand the relationship between art and culture and they took the total vibrations, positive and negative, of the whole culture and served as amplifiers or speaker systems through the arts. You can not divorce art from its root culture and expect it to be relevant for both the artist and his culture.

"The compositions we play are reflective of the music of our times whereby we play Jazz, Funk and African music with its poly or many rhythms. I wrote all the tunes in this particular L.P. and it is written as a suite of 5 movements wich means that the music can be performed along with poetry and dancers. On our last L.P. 'Message From The Tribe', we featured the compositions of our very talented composer, arranger and trombonist Phil Ranelin. On one side of the L.P. he wrote all the compositions and on the flipside I wrote all the tunes. This album was produced by us on the Tribe record label. As far as the music in 'Evening With The Devil' is concerned it really speaks for itself. In addition to the music it features some relevant poetry by two very talented young poets named Oba and Vajava who are also members of a very excellent theater group in Detroit called the Black Messengers."

America's only original art form, commonly called Jazz, was created as a result of the enslavment of a people and their culture. Consequently it grew up as a child of poverty. Not unlike its people, suffering and indifference has marked its path every step of the way. Like its people, every time it has reached what was thought to be its low point, it has been revived by innovation. Wendell Harrison and the Tribe certainly provides us with another link to add on to the chain of the innovators. In their efforts to balance the scales of Justice they strive to elevate their listeners to a higher level of consciousness in mind, body and spirit through music. Their latest release, "An Evening With The Devil", is certainly one that you will enjoy, appreciate and love. The Tribe has a very heavy message for you beautiful people of the universe to hear. They are men of their times who are aware, concerned, dedicated and serious. If you are serious about what they have in store for you, you had better listen because as the late multi-reedist Albert Ayler once said "MUSIC IS THE HEALING FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE."
I'm pretty sure this has been circulating around the internet tubes for a while. Good music is always worth the additional exposure, and this recording is no exception. Some TRIBE offerings occasionally make their way to reissue (Marcus Belgrave's excellent Gemini comes readily to mind), and if you can purchase any TRIBE reissues, by all means do so.

Download An Evening With the Devil

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Colemans Hawkins: Wrapped Tight

1. Marcheta
2. Intermezzo
3. Wrapped Tight
4. Red Roses for a Blue Lady
5. She's Fit
6. Beautiful Girl
7. And I Still Love You
8. Bean's Place
9. Here's That Rainy Day
10. I Won't Dance
11. Indian Summer
12. Out of Nowhere

Colemans Hawkins - tenor sax
Bill Berry - trumpet (#1,2,3,7,8)
Snooky Young - trumpet (#4,5,6)
Urbie Green - trombone (#1,8)
Barry Harris - piano
Buddy Catlett - bass
Eddie Locke - drums
Bob Thiele - production

Recorded February 22 (1 thru 6) and March 1 (7 thru 12), 1965; released on Impulse!

The review:
Hawkins's last strong recording finds the veteran, 43 years after his recording debut with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds, improvising creatively on a wide variety of material on this CD, ranging from "Intermezzo" and "Here's That Rainy Day" to "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" and "Indian Summer." Best is an adventurous version of "Out of Nowhere" that shows that the tenor-saxophonist was still coming up with new ideas in 1965.
This album is a good example of old dogs proving that they can learn new tricks. Hawk (also nicknamed "Bean") was about as old-school as jazzers got, having been on the scene almost from its beginnings and having weathered, and thrived in, the various changes that occurred over a four-decade career - from swing, to bebop, to bossa nova, to even just a hint of the jazz avant-garde.

My first exposure to his work was on some compilation album that just happened to have "Picasso" - a signature piece for Hawk, and apparently the very first solo sax recording ever. We take unaccompanied sax recordings - whether individual tunes or whole albums - for granted these days, but back in the late 1940s that must have been nothing short of revolutionary. Hawk was arguably the first influential tenor sax player in the jazz world and well worth getting to know.

This particular recording came right at the twilight of Hawk's career, and is considered by music critics to contain his last good recording sessions. As is fitting for an album recorded for the Impulse! label, there is a distinctive John Coltrane influence to be heard on these tunes. That said, there's still plenty of old-school bebop with just enough of an edge to get the listener's attention.

This one's been out of print for a while & CDs of Wrapped Tight seem to fetch between $25-$100 as of this writing. Hopefully the conglomerate that currently holds the Impulse! catalog will see fit to reissue this wonderful recording. Until then, if you're a working stiff like me, these mp3s will treat you right.

Get Wrapped Tight & enjoy the tunes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blast from the past: Frank Wright's "Kevin, My Dear Son"

The now-defunct church number nine (great jazz blog while it lasted) had this one up about a year ago. The cat who ran that blog was kind enough to rip a clean copy of that long-out-of-print album, realizing its title holds a very special place in my heart (my own son, and first child, is named Kevin). Needless to say, I will be forever grateful.

Let's just say that of the precious few rips of this album circulating the internet tubes, this one sounds nice top to bottom. The music fits in nicely with Wright's other albums for Sun Records.

The details:

Kevin, My Dear Son
Sun Records SEB 004

Side A
1. Odeon
2. No End To The Sun
3. November The First

Side B
1. Cowboys And Indians
2. Long Way From Home
3. Kevin, My Dear Son

Frank Wright: tenor sax & bass clarinet
Kamal Abdul Alim: trumpet
Georges Arvanitas: piano
Reggie Workman: bass
Philly Joe Jones: drums
Khalil Abdullah: percussion
Eddie Jefferson: vocal
Sebastien Bernard: producer
Elvin Campbell: engineer
Jean Pierre Pellissier: mix engineer

Recorded in October, 1978
Compositions by Frank Wright, except "Cowboys & Indians" (composed Bobby Few). All lyrics by Frank Wright.

Get Kevin, My Dear Son

If that doesn't work try downloading from sharebee.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Olatunji: Flaming Drums!

1. Abana
2. African Spiritual
3. Uhuru
4. Mystery Love
5. Adofo
6. Hail the King

Partial Personnel List:
Babatunde Olatunji - percussion
Robert Crowder - percussion
Stacy Evans - percussion
Gavin Masseaux - percussion
Montego Joe - percussion
Archie Lee - percussion
George Young - percussion
Scobby Stroman - trap drums
Aquasiba Derby - vocals
Delaora Pearson - vocals
Hosea Taylor - flute, sax, oboe
Clark Terry - trumpet
John Hammond - producer
Fred Carlin - arrangement and conduction
Dr. Akinsola Akiwowo - liner notes

Released as an LP on Columbia Records (CS-8666), 1962

I'm guessing that the album that most people associate with Babatunde Olatunji is Drums of Passion, his breakthrough album - released at the close of the 1950s and typically the sole album from his Columbia Records days to merit a reissue. Too bad, as it makes for pleasant listening. Flaming Drums! is a bit jazzier than his initial claim to fame, and serves as an early recording of afro-jazz.

Download Flaming Drums!