A really beautiful set from pianist Jaki Byard – and one of his most obscure records, too! The date was recorded in Paris in the early 70s, and it's got Jaki still using that complex range of styles we love in his 60s work for Prestige, but at a level that's looser, and more open here – yet also in ways that are warmly soulful throughout, and never get too far outside. Byard's almost more of a soulful expressionist here than in later years – as on some of his early 60s trio records – and he works with a lineup that features Gus Nemeth on bass and Jean My Truong on drums – not familiar partners for Jaki, but musicians who can definitely keep up with his sense of invention and imagination. The set's also got some great originals by the pianist – very fresh material, with titles that include "Green/Just Blue", "Gerald's Tune", "Pescara To Genova To Paris", "Garnerin A Bit/Free Suite For Paris", and "Darryl". CD also features two long bonus tracks, never heard before – with Siegfried Kessler on piano, and Jaki on alto sax – on the tracks "Now's The Time" and "What Is This Thing Called Love" – both way past the 10 minute mark! CD
Ted Curson —
Pop Wine ... CD Futura (France), 1971. New Copy ...
Ted Curson at his finest – an incredible album that has him blowing hard, and with a wonderfully soulful style on the Paris scene of the early 70s! Curson's always been a hell of a trumpeter – but he's all-out, over-the-top on this amazing session from 1971 – working alongside the legendary trio of pianist George Arvanitas – who themselves really seem to hit a special sort of sound for the record! The tracks have a long, open-ended quality that offers a mix of modal grooving and hard spiritual soloing – perfect territory for Curson to show his stuff, over a groove that you'd hardly expect from Georges' group. Arvanitas' bassist Jacky Samson has this warm, round, wonderful tone that's a perfect foil for Curson's spirited blowing – and titles include "Quartier Latin", "Pop Wine", "LSD Takes A Holiday", and "Flip Top". CD
An interesting singer, with an approach that's definitely all her own – one that has Caroline Faber singing alongside just the guitar or Richard Bonnet and drums of Eric Dambrin – both players who can be abstract at some points, and nicely laid back at others! We like that second style the most – as the instrumentation creates this very spacious quality that let's Faber's vocals spread out and flower – almost with a post-jazz sort of mode that reminds us of 70s records on the ECM and Saravah label! One track does pick up a nice, but spare groove – a wickedly cool remake of Marlena Shaw's "Woman Of The Ghetto" – and other tracks include the originals "Psychotic", "J'En Sais Rien", and "Il Bat" – plus nice takes on "Feeling Good", "Cotidiano", and Serge Gainsbourg's "Black Trombone". CD
One of the most striking albums ever from French experimentalist Jef Gilson – and one of the most outside as well! The album's from the same vintage as some of Gilson's world jazz experiments on the Palm label, but the overall feel here is much more free – with Jef working on a fuzzy Electra Hohner piano, which sounds very stark and trippy – alongside organ from Pierre Moret and drums from Jean Claude Pourtier – as well as other instrumentation from all three members of the trio! There's lots of percussion and extra elements that come into the mix – creating an organic feel that's different than other freer jazz work of the time – and Gilson's use of the electric keyboard is strongly resonant, with bold sounds that never overlap – but hang in the air nicely amidst the percussion. Claude Jeanmarie also plays prepared piano on one track – and titles include "Les Cigales", "Faut Qu'on", "Tournant Decisif", and "Le Massacre Du Printemps". CD
Michel Portal —
Alors!! ... CD Futura (France), 1970. New Copy ...
A landmark French avant session from the start of the 70s – and one of the most bracingly brilliant albums ever recorded by saxophonist Michel Portal! Portal's paired here with British reedman John Surman – and the duo play some amazingly complex lines on the date – very freewheeling, but not entirely without structure – as Portal handles alto sax and bass clarinet, and Surman blows soprano, baritone, and bass clarinet as well. Other group members include Barre Phillips on bass, Stu Martin on drums, and Jean-Pierre Drouet on percussion – and the use of two percussion players, without piano, makes for a very unique quality to the record. Titles include "Oo Bam Ba Deep", "Ca Boom?", "Undercurrent", "Yes, Oh Yes, You Wonderful Sun Kissed Maiden", and "Y En A Marre". CD
The other great Hal Singer album from his years on the French scene – and a record that we'd say is even better than his legendary Paris Soul Food set! Although Singer is often most associated with an older style of swing-based jazz, he's working here in a loose, free mode that's got plenty of 70s soulful touches – often funky at the best moments, but even more importantly openly rhythmic – with a progressively soulful style that's really outta site! The group features Art Taylor on drums, plus an assortment of European players led by Siegried Kessler – who plays some great piano and flute on the album, and also handled the arrangements. The album features Singer's wonderful tune "Malcolm X" – the kind of a track that we'd rank right up there with some of the most righteous soul jazz groovers of the time. Other highlights include the modal "Pour Stephanie", the jagged "Blues For Hal", and the groovy "It's My Thing". CD also includes the bonus track "Lina". CD
A wonderful session from the time when Mal Waldron was moving around the world a lot – having a profound influence on national jazz scenes in Italy, France, Japan, and elsewhere – and turning out great recordings like this! This set's got a groove that's a bit more soulful than some of Waldron's other trio dates from the time – which could sometimes get a bit outside – and although Mal's somewhat free on the keys of the piano at points, there's a bold sense of rhythm to the record, thanks to bass from Patrice Caratini and drums from Guy Hayat. Tracks are long and introspective, with almost a Randy Weston-ish style – and titles include "Down At The Gills", "La Petite Africaine", "My Funny Valentine", and "Blood & Guts". CD
Excellent work from Chris Woods – a genius reed player on alto sax and flute! Chris had a similar history to Nathan Davis, another richly talented American reed player from the same era – in that he was an American, but moved to Europe and achieved greater fame by becoming a seminal part of the scene during the early 60s. Woods recorded albums with Ted Curson, Marco Di Marco, and Georges Arvanitas – whose trio with Jacky Samson and Charles Saudrais is backing Chris up on this album. A few of the tunes are in a more standard jazz mode than Woods' other recordings, but there's also some great ones – like "My Lady", which is a soulful dancing waltz, and "Monsieur Lesbois In Paris", which has a nice stepping groove that's right up there with Woods' most soulful recordings! Other tracks include "Au Privae", "Love Theme For a Very Special Friend", and "Dreaming At The Woodside". CD also features a previously unissued take on "Cabaret". CD
A rare slice of work from Dexter Gordon – an early 70s live date in Paris, recorded by Jef Gilson, and featuring the George Arvanitas trio as a rhythm section, plus trumpet by the great Sonny Grey! The mix of players is totally great, and makes for a record that's fresher than some of Dex' other live European dates of the period – a bit loose and freewheeling, with some of the deeper soul of his early 60s years. Grey's trumpet is an especially nice aspect to the recording – but we also totally dig the bass of Jacky Samson and drums of Charles Saudrais! Arvanitas keeps his piano mostly pointed straight ahead – and titles include "Fried Bananas", "Caloon Bloos", "Dexter Leaps Out", and "No Matter How". CD features 3 bonus tracks too – "Untitled Ballad", "Some Other Blues", and another take of "Fried Bananas". CD
One of the boldest albums ever recorded by trumpeter Dizzy Reece – a session recorded in Paris in 1970, with some amazing tenor sax from the great John Gilmore! The pairing of Reece and Gilmore is a bit of a surprise – a strikingly avant choice for the former, and a rare date away from Sun Ra for the latter – but the album really has the players coming together wonderfully, in ways that really spark a whole new sense of sound from Dizzy! The trumpeter's solos are filled with fire and imagination – really stretching out here in ways that aren't as totally free as the BYG/Actuel French work of the time, but which definitely leans that way in spirit. Other players include Siefried Kessler on piano, Patrice Caratini on bass, and Art Taylor on drums – and the tracks are all long, and plenty darn driving! Titles include "Summit", "Krisis", "Communion", and "Contact". CD
An amazing meeting of two of the most revolutionary talents on the European jazz scene of the early 70s – American expat Sahib Shihab, blowing some of his most exotic reeds ever – and pianist Jef Gilson, working here on electric keys and ondioline! The album's got a sound that echoes some of Gilson's most creative world/jazz experiments – a feel that definitely lives up to the desert march of the title, and which comes across with a loose, freewheeling sound that's almost in the territory of Sun Ra or Salah Ragab! Shihab plays baritone sax and Varitone soprano, and other group members include Bruno Di Gioia on flute, balafon, and bongos; Pierre Moret on Hohner organ, percussion, and ondioline; Maurice Bouhana on flute and percussion; and Jean-Claude Pourtier on whistle and percussion. Titles include the extended "Mirage (parts 1 & 2)" – plus "Les Touches Noires" and "La Marche Dans Le Desert". CD
A classic set from French pianist Georges Arvanitas – long tracks from the start of the 70s, played in a way that really sets the stage for the rest of the French scene to come in later years! While Paris of 1970 is often remembered for the bold wave of avant jazz going down – thanks to a criss-crossing of American and European players in the post-68 generation – the music of Arvanitas represents a different strand that was blossoming too – a deeper, more sensitive approach to jazz – clearly aware of the limitless areas to explore, but always working within a more boundaried space while still stretching out – a mode that might be closest to similar experiments from Stanley Cowell here in the US at the same point. Like Cowell, Arvanitas has this great ear for building up a tune out of sheer energy – waves of pianistic sound, supported by excellent rhythm help from the team of Jacky Samson on bass and Charles Saudrais on drums – easily a key part of the depth of Georges' work on records like this! Titles include "Ah! Le Chat", "Indian", "Colchique Dans Le Pres", and "Sixieme Sens". CD features the bonus track "Le Blues Du Concert". CD
Georges Arvanitas —
Live Again ... CD Futura (France), 1973. New Copy 2 CDs ...
Out Of Stock
2CDs worth of wonderful work by this excellent French pianist! Arvanitas was at the height of his powers during the early 70s – stepping from a strong tradition of French keyboard work that mixed bop fire, jagged modernism, and an unabashed love of a good groove – and this set features him working in very relaxed company with his amazing trio of Jacky Samson on bass and Charles Saudrais on drums – the same rhythm team on the Marco DiMarco albums from the 70s. Samson's got this incredibly warm, round tone that ranks him as one of our favorite bassists ever – and Saudrais has a light, nimble, dancing touch on the drum kit that puts him in the mode of some of the best European modalists of the late 60s, particularly those working for the Saba/MPS label. The tracks are all quite long, and Arvanitas plays electric piano on more than a few cuts. Titles include "Electric", "Sing Sing", "Indian", "Con Alma", and "In Your Own Sweet Way". CD
Beautiful solo work from Anthony Braxton – recorded live in Paris at the start of the 70s, and a fair bit more sensitive than some of his earlier work on that scene! Side one features a beautiful take on Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" – one that runs for 25 minutes, and which features Braxton blowing straight, and almost with some of those Lee Konitz-inspired modes he was using around the time. The tune's still got some of the darkness you might expect from Braxton – but things really go out on side two, which features the originals "GN6/K/7" – using multi-tracked piano in a very cool, very experimental way! CD
Sharp sounds from the French scene at the start of the 70s – played by a group that mixes some of the free energy of the BYG/Actuel crowd with the more playful styles of the other side of the post-68 underground! The group's a quartet – with Partrick Vian on guitar, Jean Claude Cenci on sax and flute, Daniel Geoffroy on bass, and Philip Barry on drums and guitar – and all players vocalize a bit on the record, mixing sensitive lyrics in with more adventurous music – in a style that reminds us of the brilliant energy heard on some of the best Saravah Records sessions of the time. Cenci's reeds are a real delight – and the guitar lines shift from jazzy to more rockish, depending on the tune. Titles include "Cosmic Toilet Ditty", "Caka Slow", "Vertebrate Twist", "Red Noise Live Au Cafe Des Sports", "Obsession Sexuelle No 2", "20 Miror Mozarts Composing ON Tea Bag & 1/2 Cup Bra", and "Sarcelles C'Est L'Avenir". CD
Mal Waldron —
Opening ... CD Futura (France), 1970. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A gem of a record from a time when pianist Mal Waldron was really making some strong strides forward in his music – working on Japanese and European sessions like this, which were completely different from his American recordings of a decade before! The album's a solo session, with lots of long, open tracks – but Mal plays with a brilliance of tone and timing that often gives the record more full feeling than a regular trio date – as Waldron works with a sense of freedom, but always keeps things swinging, too – opening up with a new sense of spirituality that he never had back in the early years! One of the more obscure sessions by Mal from the time, but also one of the best – with titles that include "Right On", "Of Pigs & Panthers", "Cry Out", "Die Fludel", "Petite Gemeaux", and "Sieg Haile". CD
A great late recording from Ben Webster – working here in Paris with some wonderful help from the trio of pianist George Arvanitas! George's rhythm duo is wonderful – the bold bass of Jacky Samson and hip drums of Charles Saudrais – both players who bring a really fresh feel to the record, and help Webster find a hip setting in these later years of his life – a sprightly groove that's great for his aging, raspy tone on tenor sax. Arvanitas' piano is nicely restrained, leaving Ben to be the key solo star of the album – and titles include "Hal Blues", "Johnny Come Lately", "I Want A Little Girl", "Ash's Cap", "Autumn Leaves", and "Prelude To A Kiss". CD features 3 bonus alternate takes too. CD
One of the most "outside" albums recorded on the legendary Futura Records label in France – and that's saying quite a lot, given the legacy of avant jazz we've loved from their other records! The group here is a quartet – with Richard Accart on tenor and a variety of flutes; Frankcy Bourlier on vibes, pan flutes, harp, and even the inside "harp" of the piano; Jacques Fassola on bass, guitar, zen organ, and banjo; and Gil Sterg on drums, balafon, tumba, and other percussion – an amazing range of acoustic source material that produces an equally diverse sound overall! The musicians leap between the different instruments with the dexterity of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago at their height – and create a similar range of full-on to contemplative moments – but the overall music is maybe even less jazz than that famous group, with a stronger focus on textures and unusual sounds. Titles include the four part "Gestation Sonore". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the first-ever albums to feature the tenor talents of Billy Harper as a leader – recorded at a time when the world was really awakening to his talents – thanks to work with Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Lee Morgan! The album features one of Harper's classic groups – with Everett Hollins on trumpet, Fred Hersch on piano, Louis "Mbiki" Spears on bass, and Horacee Arnold on drums – stretching out with a sense of joy, power, and righteousness that perfectly sum up Harper's contribution to jazz at the time – a new sort of spiritualism allowed by the previous presence of John Coltrane – yet voiced in a mode that's all Billy's own! The set was recorded during a great burst of creative energy on the French Futura label – at a time when they were recording other excellent American players like Ted Curson, Mal Waldron, and Chris Woods – all with an approach that makes them just the right match to capture Harper's early voice at its best. The record features a great version of "Soran Bushi B.H." – a soulful spiritual number that's one of Harper's best compositions – plus "The Awakening", and the super-long "Cry Of Hunger". CD
The first of the Mo Wax Excursions 12"s, this one's in the blue hip hop series. Dark, smoked out trip hop grooves, with a nice spacious, atmospheric quality. With a great Futura 2000 cover too! 12-inch, Vinyl record
Beautiful early material by Erroll Garner – sides recorded at the start of the 50s, when he was really hitting his rhythmic stride! The tunes bristle with an approach to the material that's filled with life – as Garner seems to sense a rhythm where there might not necessarily be one – and gets equal pleasure from using his piano for rhythm as he does for spinning out a gentle melody. John Simmons is on bass, Harold Wing is on drums, and titles include the extended original "Perpetual Emotion", plus "Reminiscing In Blue", "Futuramic", "Summertime", and "Ramona". LP, Vinyl record album