Ella Fitzgerald —
Cabaret ... CD Groove Merchant/LRC, 1973. Used ...
Great small group live material from Ella Fitzgerald – recorded with a driving, upbeat quality overall – although with less of the groovier elements used on her albums at the end of the 60s! The style here is a nice mix of the back to basics approach that Fitzgerald was using at the Pablo years – but also comes across with a bit more punch and vigor overall – thanks to a lot of confidence from Ella on her vocals. Backing is by two different trios – one led by Tommy Flanagan, the other by Lou Levy – and titles include "I Won't Dance", "A Man & A Woman", "I Love You Madly", "People", "All Right OK You Win", "I'm Beginning To See The Light", "Just One Of Those Things", and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love". CD
Beautiful work from the always-great Benny Golson – a wonderfully understated quartet session that's filled with plenty of long tracks, and sublime solo work from Golson! Benny's performed in many settings over the years – all of which are great – but we're recently quite partial to his more relaxed and open sessions from this period – dates like this which show a newly reborn focus on the sound of his horn and his ability to improvised creatively over an extended period of time. There's a definite Dexter Gordon influence to the impulse – but Benny serves up the music with a fair bit more soul and lyrical imagination – working here with a group that includes Mulgrew Miller on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Tony Reedus on drums. The set list features Golson standards "Up Jumped Spring" and "Stable Mates" – as well as the tracks "Voyage", "Beautiful Love", and "Goodbye". CD
McCoy Tyner —
Blue Bossa ... CD LRC/Laser Light, 1991. Used ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A budget package, but a great little record – a lively session from pianist McCoy Tyner, and one that's served up with a good deal of Latin influence in the rhythms! The sound here is easily on a par with any of Tyner's albums for bigger labels – especially Fantasy in the 70s – and the tracks are long and highly creative, often propelled by a strong sense of rhythm on the bottom, and topped by great solo work from McCoy! The group's a quartet with bass, drums, and added percussion – plus great trumpet work from Claudio Roditi, who isn't on every track, but adds some great moments to the album nonetheless. Titles include a long take on the classic "Blue Bossa", plus "Recife's Blues", "Rotunda", "We'll Be Together", "Traces", and "Natural Bridge". CD
Wonderfully soulful grooves from the amazing Lucky Thompson! Despite the simple cover and title, this is a very nice set that brings together some of Lucky Thompson's excellent soulful recordings for the Groove Merchant label during the early 70s. Thompson started out his career as a more traditional tenorist, with a definite post-swing bias – but by the time of these sessions, he'd emerged (after a long stay in Europe) as a more spiritual, more soulful player, capable of deep emotion, and warm flowing introspective solos. He's caught in good company here – as both sessions feature Cedar Walton on keyboards – and the CD features Thompson on both tenor and soprano, which he plays in a delightful way. Titles include "Fillet Of Soul", "Then Soul Walked In", "Home Come'n", "Soul Lullaby", and "Sun Out". CD
Great 70s live work from Sarah Vaughan – material that easily stands alongside her best for the Pablo label at the same time, but which is far more obscure overall! The notes on the CD aren't much – and obviously help enforce the obscurity of the sessions – but we can say that all the performances are from live dates, and backing appears to be from a trio led by Bob James on acoustic piano on some tracks – and by a larger group with Hank Mobley and Dizzy Gillespie on a few more. Sarah's vocals are simple and straightforward, but have a confidence and poise that's totally great – qualities that have always almost made her a better singer live than in the studio. Titles include "Sassy's Blues", "Scat Blues", "Alfie", "Misty", "I Had A Ball", "The Theme", "Lover Man", "What Now My Love", and "Lover Come Back To Me". CD
Lonnie Smith —
Afro-desia ... CD Groove Merchant/LRC, Late 70s. Used ...
Out Of Stock
A confusing one from the Lester Corporation – but a great CD nonetheless! The title and cover make you think that the album's the same as Lonnie Smith's Afro-Desia album – but it actually contains little material from that set, and features more grooves from the even rarer When The Night Is Right session! Players listed include George Benson on guitar, Joe Lovano on tenor sax, and Greg Hopkins on trumpet – part of the Afro-Desia group, but also banked here on some tracks by larger arrangements from Brad Baker. The vibe is still quite hip – hard and searing on some tracks, and laidback and more Kudu jazz funky on others – and the album's an excellent one throughout, even if it is kind of a mystery in relation to Smith's discography! CD features 7 tracks in all – including "Apex", "Flavors", "Afrodesia", "Good Morning", "It's Changed", "When The Night Is Right", and "All In My Mind". CD