We completely love the music of Woody Shaw – but unfortunately, the legendary trumpeter left this planet way too soon, and only gave us about 20 years of recordings! Fortunately, the vaults have yielded some gems like this over the years – unreleased live material that not only adds to the space in Woody's catalog, but also really shows us how special he could be in a live setting! Shaw's got this strength of imagination and inner spirituality that never falters at all, even when the tracks are stretching out nice and long – which they really do here, as almost all the numbers move way past the ten minute mark – and have Woody blowing magnificent solos throughout. The group is great, too, with Mulgrew Miller on piano, Tony Reedus on drums, and Stafford James on some especially crucial bass – an instrument that always seems to drive Shaw onto new heights when it's handled the right way, which it definitely is here. Titles include "Eastern Joy Dance", "Rahssan's Run", "The Organ Grinder", "Pressing The Issue", "Sweet Love Of Mine", "Katrina Ballerina", and "400 Years Ago Tomorrow". CD
Pure magic from saxophonist Barney Wilen – captured here at a point when his powers were really back in full force, and when he seemed to be at his most soulful when handling a gentle, easygoing sort of tune! The ballads in the title are definitely out in full force – served up in a mixture of famous French melodies, past and present – so that older postwar melodies are mixed with more contemporary moments from Michel Legrand – with a lyrical vibe that's really emphasized by the superb work on piano for the set by Michel Grallier! The rest of the group is great, too – and players include Sangoma Everett on drums, and Riccardo Del Fra on bass – the last of whom you might know from some fantastic albums with Chet Baker in later years. Wilen blows tenor and a bit of soprano – and titles include "L'Ame Des Poets", "Une Ete 42", "My Way", "Once Upon A Time", "Sous Le Ciel De Paris", "Syracuse", and "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life". CD features new mastering, and four bonus tracks – alternate takes of tunes on the album! CD
Given the energy going on here, we can say that saxophonist David Boykin isn't sublimating any of his thoughts – as the record's got a wonderfully explosive vibe right from the start, then continues to soar in a mighty nice way! The format's a trio – Boykin's tenor next to the bass of Alex Wing and drums of Marcus Evans – a modernist saxophone lineup that stretches back to the late 50s experiments of Sonny Rollins, but which is also a perfect vehicle for David's voice here – maybe more unfettered and upfront than on some of his larger projects, and with this deftness that easily marks him as a hell of a soloist in the best modern tenor tradition! Titles include "Cerebro", "Intellectual Warfare", "Sublimation", "Intro Elemental", and "For Cornballs". CD
(CDR release – direct from the artist!)
Osamu Kitajima —
Osamu ... CD Everland (Netherlands), 1977. New Copy ...
A great mix of modes from Osamu Kitajima – a set that's still got some of the exotic elements of his other material, but which also brings in a stronger fusion component too – mixing Kitajima's work on guitar and koto with plenty of Fender Rhodes and other great electric touches! The set was recorded in LA, and definitely has some warm Cali fusion elements – but Osamu also still hangs on to some "eastern" flavor with his own instrumentation – which is echoed by a bit of shakuhachi and nohkan by Tatsuya Sano. There's vocals on a few tracks, but they don't get in the way much, and with the cool banks of keyboards and nice drums, you hardly notice them at all! Sweet and breezy – in the best Japanese 70s fusion mode – and with tracks that include "Frost Flowers", "Elemental Spirits", and "Fur, Fin & Feather". Minnie Riperton also sings vocals on the track "Yesterday & Karma"! CD