Luke Stewart is the bassist and the composer here – but the quintet is a powerhouse at every level – with reed work from Ken Vandermark and Ed Wilkerson, piano from Jim Baker, and drums from Avreeayl Ra – a lineup who do tremendous things with Luke's music! The tracks are all long, and build beautifully in a mixture of core ideas and individual improvisations – with a quality that almost evokes Wilkerson's important work in 8 Bold Souls, but an execution that's more flowingly spiritual overall – a richness in Stewart's music that brings out very different qualities in both Ed and Ken. The whole thing's great – the kind of record that will really establish Stewart as a musician to listen for in years to come – and titles include "The Scene", "Harp & Concrete Silhouette", "Awakening The Masters", and "Brown & Gray". LP, Vinyl record album
Hampshire & Foat —
Honeybear ... LP Athens Of The North (UK), 2018. New Copy ...
The team of Warren Hampshire and Greg Foat have already given us some amazing music on record – but this strangely-titled set may well be their crowning achievement so far! The set's got kind of a creepy look and feel – and a layout that replicates some of the more sophisticated UK jazz titles on the Argo Records label at the end of the 60s. And the style here is very much in keeping with that spirit – this straight mixture of light and darkness, delivered by the duo in a way that's more subtle than before – yet even more powerful too! Hampshire plays guitars, organ, and other keyboards – and Foat adds in more keyboards and bass, while both handle some other effects and sounds – but the real difference here is the album's use of larger string arrangements – not full orchestrations, but just the right kind of light colors and shadings that you might have heard on a record by Nick Drake, Colin Blunstone, or some of the other hipper British singers at the start of the 70s. The approach is more holistic than their previous jazz efforts – not entirely in that side of the spectrum – and more a beautiful record of rich yet melancholy instrumentals. Titles include "Crows Feet", "The Hive", "The Elderflower", "Honey Dreams", "Rain Clouds", "Winter Bound", and "The Fly & I". LP, Vinyl record album
City Life ... LP Fantasy, 1975. New Copy (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A fantastic album from this legendary jazz funk combo – a bit smoother than their first, but that's the great thing about it! The record has the band getting even tighter than before – coming up with an amazing jazz-inflected funk groove that still leaves us breathless after all these years – and which is the perfect fusion of jazz and soul that was going down with the best groups in the mid 70s. The best example of this sound can be heard on the massive cut "Rock Creek Park" – which begins with a wonderful bass on the intro, a killer moogy keyboard bit, and a super-catchy chorus that goes "doin' it in the park," which you should recognize in about 30 seconds! The rest of the album is great too – and titles include the classic sample track "Love So Fine" – plus "Happy Music", "Hash and Eggs", "Thankful Bout Yourself", and "All I Ask". (Soul, Jazz)LP, Vinyl record album
One of Bobby Hutcherson's greatest records ever – and a session that never got released at the time! The album's an excellent quartet session, one that's very much in the best spirit of Bobby's great Happenings album on Blue Note – and it features a similar group that includes Hutcherson on vibes, Herbie Hancock on piano, Albert Stinson on bass, and Joe Chambers, one of Hutcherson's best accompanists from the 60s, on drums. The format's a bit more modal than Happenings – and the set features 6 wonderful little tracks that mix together the "new thing" sound of earlier Hutcherson Blue Notes, with some of the nascent soulfulness that started creeping into his work at the end of the 60s. The album was recorded in 1967, but only first issued in Japan in at the end of the 70s – and then later in the US, and even then only briefly – but we'd still rank the set as one of Bobby's best for Blue Note! Titles include "Til Then", "Mr Joy", "Subtle Neptune", and "Theme From Blow Up". LP, Vinyl record album