Some of the rarest work ever by Sonny Criss – and a key link between his LA bop sides of the mid 50s, and his Prestige comeback sides of the late 60s! The CD features tracks from a rare album that Criss cut in Paris during the early 60s, while he was living in the city and working with the cream of its jazz players. This all-star set has Criss blowing some wonderfully soulful alto in a combo that includes Georges Arvanitas on organ and piano, Rene Thomas on guitar, Pierre Michelot on bass, and Philippe Combelle on drums. The original album is one of the rarest sides we've ever found ourselves looking for over the years – and it's wonderful to have the material back out again with such great fidelity! It's wonderful to hear Criss blowing with an organ/guitar group – but even the piano tracks are pretty darn great. Titles include "Early & Later (parts 1 & 2)", "St Louis Blues", "Once In a While", "Green Dolphin Street", and "Day Dream". CD
Duke Pearson —
Profile ... CD Blue Note (Japan), 1959. New Copy ...
Around July 1, 2015
Early early work by Duke Pearson – and one of his few trio sessions ever! The album's a great way to hear Pearson's lyrical soulful style at work, as he's playing in an unfettered setting with Gene Taylor on bass and Lex Humphries on drums – really stretching out on piano, in a way that you don't often hear on some of his larger group albums. The album features two of his own compositions "Gate CityBop" and "Two Mile Ride", plus versions of "Black Coffee", "Taboo", and "Witchcraft". CD
Dusko Goykovich —
Bebop City ... CD Enja/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1994. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
An excellent album from trumpeter Dusko Goykovich – and one that has a hell of a lot more to offer than the simple "bebop" promise of the title! Sure, there's something of a bop approach to a few of the tunes – but overall, the album's a myriad of colors, tones, and pulsating rhythms – handled in the best mode of Goykovich's classics from earlier years, by an impeccable group that includes Alvin Queen on drums, Kenny Barron on piano, and Ralph Moore on tenor sax! Titles include "Sunrise In St Petersburg", "In The Sign Of Libra", "Lament", "Brooklyn Blues", and "No Love Without Tears". CD
Excellent sounds from this hip Japanese group – a jazzy combo with some mighty strong vibes in the lead – and a range of sweet styles that run from bossa to bop to soul jazz! The instrumentation is all played live, never programmed – and the group have a groove that easily matches the best club jazz sounds from artists on labels like Schema or Ricky Tick – a mix of vintage modes of expression with contemporary rhythmic progressions – and some nice use of keyboards and guitar alongside the vibes! There's a bit of vocals on the record, but most tracks are instrumental – and titles include "Encounter With JL", "Quiet City Blues", "Fly Over The Horizon", "Midnight Image", "Sweet Memories", "Walking", "Green In Blue", and "Meteor". CD
A pair of later jazzy vocal LP gems by Teresa Brewer, both backed by jazz greats – Songs Of Bessie Smith with Count Basie and Thad Jones, and It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing with Duke Ellington – both released by Flying Dutchman in 1973! Teresa's popularity peaked a couple decades earlier as a girlish pop singer, and she succeeds strongly on both records – not just because of the jazz heavies in the band, but because she has the pipes and genuine affection for the material to pull it off. It's lovely stuff! Songs Of Bessie Smith have the bluesy overtones necessary to make it work, without trying the hide Teresa's naturally softer approach. Basie on piano throughout, with arrangements by Jones, and a great big band on half and more intimate arrangements on the other half. It Don't Mean A Thing. . .works just as wel, with Duke Ellington and Ernie Wilkins arrangements, and great Flying Dutchman players that include Bernard Purdie, Joe Beck and Mtume. 20 tracks in all, including "Trombone Cholly", "Gmme A Pigfoot", "I Ain't Got Nobody", "St Louis Blues", "I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues", "Mood Indigo", "I'm Beginning To See The Light", "I've Got To Be A Rug Cutter", "Tulip Or Turnip", "I'ts Kinda Lonesome Out Tonight" and more. CD
One of the coolest, hippest albums ever from reedman Hadley Caliman – cut at a time when Caliman was playing on a lot of other west coast sessions – both jazz and soul – and a record that definitely pushes his new ideas to the forefront! Hadley is always great, no matter what the setting – but this record really offers him the chance to stretch out and express himself – both on tenor and flute, in a way that's more Strata East or Black Jazz spiritual than some of the other albums on the Mainstream label at the time. The group's nicely laidback – with Larry Vuckovich on piano, John White Jr on guitar, Clarence Becton on drums, and Bill Douglass on bass – but Caliman is the clear star of the set, and shines brightly throughout. Tracks include "Cigar Eddie", "Longing", "Comencio", and "Kicking On The Inside". CD
One of the best albums ever from reedman Buddy Collette – a great small group session with a harder edge than some of Buddy's later records for bigger labels! Collette was always one of the more interesting players from the LA scene of the 50s – and although he had his roots in harder jazz styles, he also played a lot of studio sessions – and had an amazing ability to shift through different modes and settings with effortless ease – and also shift his work on different reed instruments too! This album's a nice mix of both sides of his style – with some cuts that have Collette playing flute or clarinet with a lyrical groove, and some more hard-blowing tracks that feature alto and tenor – in a cool quintet that features Gerald Wilson on trumpet, Al Viola on guitar, Wilfred Middlebrook on bass, and Earl Palmer on drums The session's a darn tough one to find, despite its importance in Collette's career – and titles include "Walkin' Willie", "Changes", "The Cute Monster", and "Orlando Blues". CD features a bonus track – "Soft Touch (take 5)". CD
A seminal 50s session from the mighty Dexter Gordon – one of his few full albums from the decade, and one of the only ones to really capture him at the heart of his original LA scene! The set's got a nice bite, and a strong sense of focus – shorter tracks that step off strongly from the bop years that saw Gordon rise to fame, but without as much of the longer blowing from some of his "chase" recordings with other tenorists. Instead, the focus here is on great tight group sounds – just the right solo space to let each player open up and groove a bit, then come back together in sharp formation. The group features Dex on tenor, Jimmy Robinson on trumpet, Carl Perkins on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Chuck Thompson on drums – and titles include "Silver Plated", "Rhythm Mad", "Bonna Rue", "Blowin' For Dootsie", and "Cry Me A River". CD
Drummer Roy Haynes works here with an ensemble that's definitely as hip as the title promises – a really righteous group that makes the album one of Roy's most spiritual records ever! Haynes was always a drummer who was really a cut above, even back at the start – but here, he really steps out strongly with a new musical vision for the 70s – working with a lineup that includes George Adams on tenor and flute and Marvin Hannibal Peterson on trumpet – but players who give the music a really bold feel, right from the start! The rest of the lineup is wonderful, too – as Carl Schroeder plays Fender Rhodes with this flowing vibe that's plenty soulful – alongside bass from Terud Nakamura and Mervin Bronson, conga from Lawrence Kilian, bongo from Elwood Johnson, and more drums from Haynes himself. Titles include a sublime reading of Stanley Cowell's "Equipoise" – plus "Tangiers", "You Name It", and "Satan's Mysterious Feeling". CD
One of the hippest albums ever from the team of Harold Land and Bobby Hutcherson – and a set that's even more open than some of their other records on Blue Note or Chess! This set's a bit more electric than some of the other records from the pair – with these drawn-out Fender Rhodes lines from Bill Henderson – who comps and vamps with modal energy that really draws out some searing, searching solos from Land's tenor! Bobby's vibes are maybe a bit more restrained, but offer a key element in the overall soundshape of the record – and the rest of the lineup includes Reggie Johnson on bass, Ndugu and Woody Theus on drums, and Harold Land Jr on additional piano. All tracks are long – and titles include "Black Caucus", "Our Home", "Up & Down", and "Choma". CD
A key 70s album from Blue Mitchell – and a set that's perfectly balanced between the lyricism of his mid 60s sides for Blue Note, and the electric funk of later years! The tracks are long, and have a really great vibe – plenty of room for Mitchell's sweet trumpet in the lead, with longer solos than on his last funk albums for Blue Note – and given a nice sense of bounce, a groove that's almost modal at times, by a group that features Walter Bishop on piano, Larry gales on bass, and Doug Sides on drums. Bishop's clearly playing some Fender Rhodes at times – ala his Black Jazz albums – and the group also features some of the most righteous tenor work we've ever heard from Jimmy Forrest, an artist we really know best for sides from a decade before. Titles include a killer reading of "Soul Village" – later recorded famously by Bishop – plus "Blues For Thelma", "Queen Bey", "Mi Hermano", and "Are You Real". CD
One of Lee Morgan's most sparkling sessions from the early years – a record that already shows a sense of depth and imagination that would take Lee way beyond simple hardbop solo work! There's a sensitivity here that owes something of a debt to Clifford Brown, yet which is much more modernist overall – touched, no doubt, by a set list that features tunes by Gigi Gryce and Benny Golson, and played in a spirit that's similar to the blend of soul jazz and modernism that both of those players were carving out at the time. Morgan's bandmates for the record include George Coleman on tenor and alto, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Ray Bryant on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Art Taylor on drums – all in tight formation, but with a sense of relaxed and easy flow that's rare, even in a Blue Note of this vintage! Titles include "You're Mine You", "Just By Myself", "Kin Folks", "City Lights", and "Tempo De Waltz". CD
We love Frank Strozier – and think he's one of the greatest talents in jazz – period! This long-overdue CD brings together two of Frank's early 60s sessions for the Jazzland label – both of them gems that have lain under-discovered for years. Long Night is an excellent example of the maturity and modernism that was coming out of the Chicago jazz scene as it hit the early 60s – and it features Strozier's soulful alto in the company of some of the city's best players, like pianist Chris Anderson, drummer Walter Perkins, bassist Bill Lee, and baritonist Pat Patrick, playing here away from Sun Ra's group! The title track alone is an incredibly fantastic composition, full of moodiness and incredible reed work – but the rest of the record's great, too, and features excellent originals like "The Need For Love", "The Crystal Ball", and "Pacemaker". March Of The Siamese Children continues the trend – with a sound that goes far beyond the hardbop and soul jazz in which Strozier first cut his teeth – into a mode that's angular and exploratory, yet also still warmly expressive – filled with a richness of sound that holds up fantastically year after year. Titles include "March Of The Siamese Children", "Our Waltz", "Hey Lee", "Lap", "Extension", and "Something I Dreamed Last Night". CD
Sarah Vaughn's looking pretty groovy on the cover of this album, and she's sounding pretty groovy too – thanks to some sweet 70s backings from Ernie Wilkins! The style isn't exactly funky, but it's got some fully soulful sounds, and some great electric moments too – modes that almost feel more like some of the best Kudu Records vocal sets from the time, instead of the usual Mainstream Records groove. Sarah really fits well in this sort of setting – stretching out into groovier territory than before with the same sense of change that Ella Fitzgerald or Marlena Shaw were bringing to their music at the time. Players include Jerome Richardson on saxes, Buddy Childers on trumpet, Benny Powell on trombone, Jimmy Cobb on percussion, and Earl Palmer on drums – and titles include "Inner City Blues", "Magical Connection", "Universal Prisoner", "Tomorrow City", "That's The Way I've Always Heard It", "Imagine", "On Thinking It Over", and "If Not For You". CD
Lennie Tristano/Bill Harris/Miles Davis/Buddy De F —
Cool & Quiet ... CD Capitol (Japan), Late 40s. New Copy ...
Around May 20, 2015
A great "birth of the cool" album from Capitol – a record that brings together some key recordings from that pivotal jazz year of 1949! Titles include "Imagination" by a large group with Bill Harris in the lead on trombone; "Wow", "Marionette", and "Yesterdays" from a great Lennie Tristano group with Warne Marsh on tenor, Lee Konitz on alto, and Billy Bauer on guitar; "Boplicity" by Miles Davis with JJ Johnson and Lee Konitz; and "Penthouse Serenade", "Extrovert", and "Good For Nothin Joe" by a quintet with Buddy DeFranco on clarinet and Teddy Cohen on vibes. CD
Louis Armstrong hits the Flying Dutchman label – and unlocks a whole new spiritual side of his talents – a mode that's quite different than some of his crossover pop of the 60s! The style here has a bit of righteous elements in the lyrics, and lots of spiritual jazz in the backings – with full arrangements from Oliver Nelson – who heads up a dream lineup that includes Billy Harper on tenor, and either Chico Hamilton or Pretty Purdie on drums! Even more amazing is a guest appearance from Leon Thomas – who sings on a version of "The Creator Has A Master Plan". Other tunes are just as hip – and include "The Black Cat Has 9 Lives", "His Father Wore Long Hair", "Give Peace A Chance", and "We Shall Overcome". Must be heard to be believed! CD
A nice, cooking bop side, led by Red Garland and featuring 'Trane at his late 50s best, when he was moving between playing with the top East coast talents of the day, and playing with a ferocity that betrayed the direction he'd later take when he got really out. Donald Byrd's also in the frontline and George Joyner and Art Taylor round out the rhythm section, though Joyner's replaced by Paul Chambers on the trio number "Crazy Rhythm". The other three tracks featured here are "Billie's Bounce", "CTA" and a the nice, long slow burner "Lazy Mae". CD
An excellent set that's a fitting tribute to the genius of the West Coast Latin Scene! For as many years as New York's been a hot city for Latin jazz, Los Angeles has also had an excellent scene, filled with many talented players – but it's always been eclipsed in the history books because of a New York-centrism in reissues, compilations, and general writing on Latin music. However, one of the strongest forces to change this Big Apple-bias in Latin fans has been the groundbreaking Jazz On The Latin Side radio program – which for the past decade has provided public radio with broadcasts of live sets that show the rich amount of talent on the west coast. On the 10th anniversary of the show, a host of great players teamed up to cut this live set for Cubop in LA – including Justo Almario, Francisco Aguabella, Alex Acuna, Otmario Ruiz, Poncho Sanchez, and many others. The music is sophisticated Latin jazz, drenched in the soulful history that separates west coast Latin – especially that of the 70s – from its east coast counterpart. The playing is great, and the record is way more than a loose roots-oriented jam session. Higlights include the massive 15 minute "Descarga Cachao", plus original compositions "Mujer Chicana", "Shortcuts", and "Arabian Moods", which were all written by Jose Rizo, the host of the Jazz On The Latin Side program. Great stuff – and another winner for Cubop! CD
One of the most hard-hitting sessions ever recorded for the Bethlehem label – and a rare date for the imprint by the team of trumpeter Donald Byrd and saxophonist Pepper Adams! The style here is similar to work the pair recorded for Riverside and Blue Note at the same time – razor-sharp hardbop, played with a strong sense of imagination, and plenty of room for drawn-out, creatively-blown solos. Adams is especially great – playing the baritone here with the leanness of a tenor sax – but Byrd is wonderful too, and really starts to break out of some of the more staid modes of his work from a few years back. The group's a sextet that includes guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer "Hey" Lewis (another name for Louis Hayes?) – on titles that include "Trio", "Philson", "Libeccio", and "Bitty Ditty". CD
Duke Ellington —
My People ... CD Contact/Boplicity (UK), 1963. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A great high-concept composition from Duke Ellington – one that rivals the earlier brilliance of his Liberian Suite! Like that one, vocals are a key part of this long-form work – a special performance done for the Century Of Negro Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1963 – with an all-star cast that includes Jimmy Jones both at the piano and conductor's stand; Joya Sherrill on vocals with the Irving Bunton Singers, Jimmy Grissom, Jimmy McPhail, and Lil Greenwood; Billy Strayhorn on celeste, Juan Amalbert on conga, and other familiar Ellingtonians in the larger group! The tunes have a mix of gospel and folk roots, turned towards more modern Ellington compositional modes – and almost all numbers feature vocals, including one with narration by Ellington himself. Titles include "Will You Be There", "Come Sunday", "David Danced", "Montage", "My Mother My Father", "My People", "The Blues Ain't", and "What Color Is Virtue". CD
Seminal sounds from the LA scene of the late 40s – one of the most important records to showcase the tenor talents of the legendary Wardell Gray – a key player on the harder side of the west coast for its formative bop years – and one whose career was cut short all too soon! The material here really shows that strong LA tradition of fervent jam session work – recorded here with Gray alongside additional tenor from Vido Musso – plus guitar from Barney Kessel and Irving Ashby, trumpet from Ernie Royal and Howard McGhee, trombone from Vic Dickenson, piano from Arnold Ross and Erroll Garner, and bass from Red Callender and Harry Babison. Tracks are nice and long – with plenty of room for Gray to show of his solo talents – and titles include "Tenderly", "Blue Lou", "Just You Just Me", and "One O'Clock Jump". CD