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Brother Jack McDuff - Six AM
Brother Jack McDuff Live! is a live album by organist Jack McDuff recorded in New Jersey in 1963 and released on the Prestige label.
Benny Golson Funky Quintet - Work Song
As an originator of the initial soul-funk movement of the '60s when he was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Golson is eminently qualified to funkify jazz and R&B-flavored instrumental music. Nat Adderley plays cornet alongside Golson's tenor in this, one of his last recordings before he passed away. Always fresh and deep in the groove is pianist Monty Alexander, and acoustic bassist Ray Drummond plays fat notes with ultimate conviction. Also contributing here is genius drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, who lays out rhythms that Bernard Purdie would be envious of. All of the tunes are well-known, save Golson's original "Mississippi Windows," dedicated to the saxophonist's days with R&B icon Bullmoose Jackson
McCoy Tyner (They Long To Be) Close To You
McCoy Tyner, one of the most vital of all jazz pianists, performs nine songs written by the superior pop composer Burt Bacharach. Since the tunes selected include "Close to You," "A House Is Not a Home," "Alfie" and "The Look of Love," this project had potential. Unfortunately, the Tyner trio (with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash) is accompanied by a huge string section and an orchestra given mostly surprisingly sappy and overly lush arrangements by John Clayton (who is capable of much better). The pianist treats each melody as if it were precious, and the overall results are rather schlocky. Compare this lightweight version of "A House Is Not a Home" to Jackie McLean'sintense exploration or Tyner's "Alfie" to Sonny Rollins' for examples of how the pianist's project is an unimaginative misfire. A major disappointment.
Herbie Hancock - Summertime Gershwins World
Gershwin's World is a tour de force for Herbie Hancock, transcending genre and label, and ranking among the finest recordings of his lengthy career. Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, this disc features jazzman Hancock with a classy collection of
Randy Johnston - Blues for Edward G.
If you're a hard bopper with soul-jazz leanings, it is important to have sidemen who have a similar mentality; that is, musicians who like to swing aggressively but also like to groove -- musicians who value chops and virtuosity but realize that feeling and soulfulness are also important. Randy Johnstonfeels that way; he's a guitar-playing virtuoso who values feeling as well as technique. And thankfully, he has very like-minded support on Detour Ahead, including tenor saxman David "Fathead" Newman, organist Joey DeFrancesco, and Philadelphia drummer Byron Landham.
Benny Carter Doozy further Definitions
Altoist/arranger Benny Carter's classic Further Definitions is a revisiting, instrumentation-wise, to the famous 1937 session that Carter and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins made in France with two top European saxophonists (Andre Ekyan and Alix Combelle) and guitarist Django Reinhardt. The all-star group (which also includes Hawkins, altoist Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse on second tenor, pianist Dick Katz, guitarist John Collins, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Jo Jones) performs a particularly inspired repertoire. Carter's charts, which allow Hawkins to stretch out on "Body and Soul," give everyone a chance to shine. "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Crazy Rhythm" hold their own with the 1937 versions, and "Blue Star" and "Doozy" prove to be two of Carter's finest originals.
Tardo Hammer - Take Me Out to the Ballgame
On his second release as a leader, pianist Tardo Hammer displays a sophisticated, old-school bebop touch in a trio setting with bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Leroy Williams. While many modern pianists opt for close-voiced, impressionistic left-hand clusters as popularized by Bill Evans, Hammerharks back to the wide-interval, low-register comping style of Bud Powell, throwing elements of Monkinto the mix as well. No surprise, then, that he kicks this record off with a blistering take of Powell's rhythm changes tune "John's Abbey." He goes on to tackle two classics from the old Blue Note catalog, Sonny Clark's "Somethin' Special" and Sonny Rollins' "Blues for Philly Joe," along with the standards "If I Loved You" and "You're My Thrill." (Irwin's tone on the latter is especially rich and full.) In the best Rollins tradition, Hammer also puts a bright jazz spin on the American staple "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Red Mitchell - Where or When
Bassist Red Mitchell's debut as a leader on the Bethlehem label finds him a solid quintet with pianist Hampton Hawes, trumpeter Conte Candoli, drummer Chuck Thompson, and saxophonist Joe Mainiin an easygoing bop session. The leader's bass work is as potent as it was throughout his long career, whether on Hawes' fast-paced blues "Duff," or a loping treatment of "Ornithology." Mitchell's advanced composition, "East Coast Outpost," is especially noteworthy.
George Shearing - Joe Williams - Heart and Soul
By the time this record first appeared in 1971 on George Shearing's short-lived Sheba label, jazz was in the doldrums due to the preponderance of rock on radio and in record stores. Shearing formed his own label in an attempt to control his own destiny, and singer Joe Williams was one of the first people he asked to appear on with him. The two veterans are joined by bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Stix Hooper for a collection of ballads (both familiar and obscure) that feature either "heart" and/or "soul" in their titles. They work very well together due to their love of great melodies and their ability to build upon them. The surprise opener is "Heart and Soul," a fairly simple Hoagy Carmichael-Frank Loesser ditty that is often the first piece would-be pianists learn on their own; Shearing's easygoing yet swinging arrangement removes its typically monotonous character. Even though Rodgers & Hart's lovely "My Heart Stood Still" is barely over two minutes, the enchanting duo rendition by Williams and Shearing not only restores the often omitted verse but proves that less can be more.
Marian McPartland - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
It's long been an adage that true jazz is best enjoyed live in a club setting where anything goes, and discs like this offer genuine support for that idea. First the history: The legendary McPartland is host of the acclaimed NPR series Piano Jazz, and has released over 50 albums with Concord in 25 years (most of them archive documents from the radio program). She first began playing with drummer Joe Morelloin New York about 50 years ago, so it's easy to revere what's happening here as a powerful document affirming their legends. Bassist Rufus Reid rounds out the trio.
Content shared under Creative Commons
Content shared under Creative Commons