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
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 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
A beautiful later set from pianist Freddie Redd – an artist we really love for his 50s recordings, and his seminal sides for Blue Note – and one who shows us a whole new side of his talents here! The album's got a very different feel than Redd's earlier work – richer in feeling, and deeply personal – played with a sense of tone and space that are not unlike Hampton Hawes during the same stretch – but still graced with those surprising sharp edges and dark corners that always hold us rapt with Freddie's music. The tunes are all originals – proof that Redd continued strongly as a writer – and the group features Didier Levallet on bass and Didier Carlier on drums. Titles include "This Heart Is Mine", "You", "My God Is Love", and "Bleeker Street Blues". 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
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. Other tracks include "Au Privae", "Love Theme For a Very Special Friend", and "Dreaming At The Woodside". LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has some light wear, but this is a great vintage copy overall.)
Overlooked genius from French pianist/arranger Jef Gilson – a really free-thinking spirit who's probably best known for his older albums on the Palm label and on MPS – but who sounds equally wonderful here in a late-life session from the 90s! The format here is every bit as strong as some of Gilson's earlier project – and like those, has a strong sense of arrangement at the front, but also allows great freedom from the individual members – a sextet that includes Jef on piano, Guillaime Poncelet on trumpet, Vincent Audigier on tenor, Bruno Sisinni on bass, Lionel Moine on drums, and Patrick Sibille on a range of percussion instruments. We know none of these other musicians at all, but they come together wonderfully under Gilson's leadership – in angular lines that warm up with bold colors, and a great sense of individuality within the larger group. Titles include "Mr PS", "Les Touches Noires", "Taho", "Mathias", "Cool Training", "Choro In Blue", "Des-Espoirs", and "Chant Inca". 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
Ted Curson —
Pop Wine ... CD Futura (France), 1971. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
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
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
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
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
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". LP, Vinyl record album
"Smurf" is a sweet bit of electro funk from Tyrone – with a tight breakdance beat wobbling through the cut, and lots of bass work over the top! An electro classic, in a pic sleeve featuring an early Futura painting on the front! 12-inch, Vinyl record
(Cover has a factory sticker on front.)
Billy Harper —
Awakening ... CD Marge (France), 1971. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
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
A really unusual set from early 70s France – a record done for the mostly-jazz imprint Futura Records –but one that seems to also embrace some of the trippier styles of the time too! Most of the music here feels largely improvised – lots of guitar likes that skitter out over bass and percussion – sometimes with vocals, sometimes with other instrumental elements on piano, flute, or violin – and always with this kind of dark, brooding energy that's quite unique! These guys are hardly indulgent proggers, nor balls-out rockers – and instead almost have this close, personal approach that reflects the free jazz scene of the time – but which also has more of a rockish construction to the tunes and their use of vocals. Echo often makes the words sound quite spooky, and overall the album's plenty eerie – and titles include "Screaming Zenith", "Hot Milk Elbow", "Sky Fish", "Bloody Hide & Seek In The Rain", "Universe", and "Head Of Night". LP, Vinyl record album
Great work from Neil Larsen – a keyboardist who doesn't always get his due in the hipper sides of the jazz spectrum, but who sounds mighty nice on this solo album for A&M! The set's got Neil's keyboards very firmly in the lead, and also features lots of fuzzy guitar from Buzz Feiten – a player who has the same laidback groove as Larsen – and the record group gets some nice rhythmic help from the mighty Steve Gadd on drums and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion. There's a bit of horns on the set – courtesy of Michael Brecker on tenor and Joe Farrell on flute – and one track features a bit of backing vocals. Nick De Caro did Arp arrangements – and titles include "Nile Crescent", "Rio Este", "Night Letter", "Futurama", and "Demonette". LP, Vinyl record album
Neil Larsen —
High Gear ... CD A&M/Universal (Japan), 1979. New Copy ...
Just Sold Out!
Great work from Neil Larsen – a keyboardist who doesn't always get his due in the hipper sides of the jazz spectrum, but who sounds mighty nice on this solo album for A&M! The set's got Neil's keyboards very firmly in the lead, and also features lots of fuzzy guitar from Buzz Feiten – a player who has the same laidback groove as Larsen – and the record group gets some nice rhythmic help from the mighty Steve Gadd on drums and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion. There's a bit of horns on the set – courtesy of Michael Brecker on tenor and Joe Farrell on flute – and one track features a bit of backing vocals. Nick De Caro did Arp arrangements – and titles include "Nile Crescent", "Rio Este", "Night Letter", "Futurama", and "Demonette". CD