Bessie Smith by LaVern Baker – a great blend of modes that really comes off great! Instead of sounding like a throwback blues album, the set comes across with a nice degree of contemporary class – thanks in part to a jazzy presentation that's a bit different than some of Baker's other music of the time – and which sports reeds from Sahib Shihab, tenor from Paul Quinichette, trumpet from Buck Clayton, and trombone from Jimmy Cleveland! Baker's voice is in fine form in this comfortable setting – and really works magic with tracks that include "After You've Gone", "Preaching The Blues", "Empty Bed Blues", "Back Water Blues", and "Gimme A Pigfoot". (Soul, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
(Canadian "That's Jazz Series" pressing from the 70s.)
A pivotal album for Ray – one that features the sweet electric piano jammer "What'd I Say" – offered up here in 2 parts, and a track that would become the prototype for so many funk songs in years to come! The Raelettes back Ray up on most tracks – and other tracks include "Rockhouse (parts 1 & 2)", "Roll With My Baby", "You Be My Baby", "Jumpin In The Mornin", and "What Kind Of Man Are You". (Soul, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
They got the "jazz date" right in the title on this one – as Chris Connor works here with some exceptional small combo backing – all in a mode that almost takes her back to the earliest sound of her first few records on Bethlehem! Ralph Sharon's the maestro here – handling all the arrangements for a few small combos with players who include Oscar Pettiford on bass, Sam Most on flute, Eddie Costa on vibes, Joe Puma on guitar, and Lucky Thompson and Al Cohn on tenor – all modern-minded players who turn out to be a really great fit for Connor on the date. A few numbers even feature added Latin percussion from Mongo Santamaria – and titles include "All I Need Is You", "Driftwood", "Fancy Free", "It Only Happens When I Dance With You", and "Lonely Town". LP, Vinyl record album
(Black label pressing with deep groove. Vinyl plays with clicks and crackles.)
One of Bobby D's albums from his confused period in the mid 60s! Sounds sort of goofy, but it actually works, thanks to some swinging arrangements by Roger Kellaway, and the pep and zip of the score. Plus, the cover's got Bobby leaning on a push me-pull me, with a doctor's bag and a big stovepipe hat. Titles include "At The Crossroads", "I Think I Like You", "Fabulous Places", "Talk To The Animals", "After Today", and "My Friend The Doctor". LP, Vinyl record album
(Red & purple label pressing. Cover has a small cutout hole.)
(Heavy black label pressing. Cover has light wear.)
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, & The Trinity —
Streetnoise ... LP Atlantic, 1969. Near Mint- 2LP Gatefold ...
Just Sold Out!
Some great funky grooves by this legendary British ensemble – featuring excellent keyboard work by Brian Auger, recorded during the period when he was really beginning to stretch out a bit, and hit a much more open-ended kind of sound. Julie Driscoll is still on vocals, singing in her raw sound, but Brian's Trinity group gets a fair number of nice instrumental moments on the set – which are greatly appreciated! Titles include the classic and sample laden "Light My Fire", "Czechoslovakia", "Finally Found You Out", "In Search Of The Sun", "Ellis Island", "I've Got Life", and "Save The Country". LP, Vinyl record album
Sweet 70s funk from the great Oscar Brown – quite a change from his jazz-based work of the 60s, but a great new sitting for all of his wonderful wit and warmth! Brown's still a hell of a songwriter, and one with a very socially-conscious eye – sharper here than before, with lots of comments on the changes in society in the 70s, mixed with a few more heartfelt, personal moments too. There's still a bit of jazz in the mix – thanks to work from Seldon Powell on reeds, and Joe Sample on keyboards – and arrangements are by old friends Floyd Morris, the underground Chicago soul genius – and Sivuca, best known for his Brazilian music, but a great choice here to expand the groove. Brown wrote all the tunes on the record – and titles include "From My Window", "Like A Flower", "Brother Where Are YOu", ""The Lone Ranger", "If You Come Back", and "The Joneses". LP, Vinyl record album
Some of Ray's biggest tracks for Atlantic, including many remakes of standards like "Just For A Thrill", "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin", "Am I Blue", and "It Had To Be You". You've heard it all a million times, but it's still beautiful stuff – and it's extra nice to hear on wax! The record also has a few nice jazz-oriented highlights, too, like playing by Zoot Sims, David Fathead Newman, and Paul Gonsalves – plus a trumpet solo "Alexander's Ragtime Band" by a young Marcus Belgrave! (Soul, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
Quite an unusual date for vocalist Jimmy Witherspoon – one that has him singing with the group of Wilbur De Paris, in a mode that's a lot more trad than any of Jimmy's other records from the time! Turns out, that amazing voice is perfect for the setting – and Witherspoon really sounds wonderful here – ringing out with a full, rich style that most other trad male singers would never attempt – recorded beautifully for the session with top-shelf Atlantic fidelity, too – and more than a few echoes of their R&B approach in the studio! The group features Wilbur De Paris on trombone, Sidney De Paris on cornet, Omer Simeon on clarinet, and Sonny White on piano – and titles include "Careless Love", "Trouble In Mind", "Lotus Blossom", "Big Fine Girl", "Good Rollin Blues", and "When The Sun Goes Down". (Jazz, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
One of Mel Torme's hippest albums of the 60s – and a strong shift towards more swinging material after some of his mellower work for other labels! There's a bit of electric piano in the mix, and plenty of that Atlantic records pop/soul jazz approach – a take on soul jazz that's similar to tunes by Herbie Mann at the same time, but with vocals. The whole thing's filled with greatly grooving tracks – and it draws no small influence from Jon Hendricks' excellent work of the time! Titles include "Hi Fly", "Comin Home Baby", "Dat Dere", "Sidney's Soliloquy", and "Moanin". LP, Vinyl record album
Quite possibly the last great hit from singer Jackie DeShannon – an album built around the righteous spirit of the title track – filled with really wonderful original tunes penned by Jackie and soul singer Jimmy Holiday! The album may well be the best to explore the space between pop and soul that often characterized Jackie's work – and the overall sound is somewhat similar to some of Dusty Springfield's best pop/soul work from the same stretch. 10 of the album's 12 tracks are originals by Holiday and DeShannon – all set to soaring orchestrations by James Langeford, which often have a pronounced influence from the sound of Atlantic Records in the late 60s! Titles include "Put A Little Love In Your Heart", "You Are The Real Thing", "River Of Love", "Movin", "You Can Come To Me", "You Have A Way With Me", and "I Let Go Completely". (Rock, Vocalists)LP, Vinyl record album
The music may be Gershwin, but Karin Krog gives it a twist that's all her own – working here with wonderful small combo backing, and putting the tunes over in a style that's spare and personal – yet never sleepy or cloying! The approach is really fresh, yet never also overly modern or gimmicky – and Krog shows once again that she's one of the best interpreters of song on either side of the Atlantic – hitting a space here that's just perfect, and which makes us love the record a heck of a lot more than we ever would have expected for a Gershwin-titled set! The group's a quartet, with some excellent tenor from Bjarne Nerem – who sounds especially great on an instrumental reading of "That Certain Feeling" – and titles include "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Who Cares?", "Our Love Is Here To Stay", and "They All Laughed". LP, Vinyl record album
Sammy with Freedom Unity —
Salute To Soul ... LP Columbia (Japan), 1971. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Sammy sings soul – not Sammy Davis Jr, but this ultra-hip Japanese singer from the early 70s – a female vocalist who works here with great backings from the Freedom Unity ensemble! The tunes are all numbers from American and British sources of the 50s and 60s – tunes you'd know from versions on labels like Stax or Atlantic, but redone here with some really groovy new inflections – including cool arrangements from Freedom Unity, with a nice blend of strings and soulful jazz elements – including some especially great keyboards and reeds on some numbers! Sammy sings in English, but with this unusual accent that really transforms the tunes – and titles include versions of "Hey Jude", "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know", "Summertime", "What Am I Living For", "House Of The Rising Sun", and "Nobody's Fault But Mine". LP, Vinyl record album
(Part of the Deep Jazz Reality series! Fantastic Japanese pressing – heavy vinyl and gatefold cover! 2016 Record Store Day release, too.)