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✨✧ Afro Blues Quintet Plus OneNew Directions In Sound ... CD
BGP (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... About March 1, 2016
Smoking grooves from an incredible group – the amazing Afro Blues Quintet, a combo with a sound like no other! These guys were never one for stardom, but during the mid and late 60s, they burned up the west coast scene with an incredible blend of vibes, piano, and reeds – often kicked up nicely with some hard-rolling rhythm work that gave their tracks a similar mod groove to classics by Johnny Lytle, Ramsey Lewis, or Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers! But the real difference with the ABQ (if we can call them that!) is that they had a really spacious approach to their sound – never putting too much into the mix, and instead using the space between the notes every bit as much as the notes themselves. The grooves are great, and since most of this work has never been reissued, the set's totally fresh to the ears of most listeners! As usual, the folks at BGP have done a great job with the notes – and the set features 22 tracks from the group's Mira, Surrey, and Crestview recordings – titles that include "Monkey Time", "Freaks", "La La La", "Southside Habit", "Mirror Image", "Afro Rock", "Evening Of The Beast", "Spartacus", "Candie Luv", and "Our Mambo". CD
 
Possible matches: 8
Possible matches2
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Black AngelsDirections To See A Ghost ... CD
Light In The Attic, 2008. Used ... $4.99
The Black Angels are back with their precise take on hallucinatory drone pop – kind of a tighter take on the cosmic swirl of the banana era Velvets with hints of the bluesier underpinnings of the Angels' Texan psyche progenitors! The group is evolving into experts in hypnosis – knowing that a well captured repetitive pattern in sound is just as involving as a great melody – and they manage to celebrate the psych rock exploratory committees of 3 decades ago without coming off as mere revivalists. Expansive and efficient at the same time, and a pretty close to timeless take on the classic psychedelia. Titles include "You On The Run", "Doves", "Science Killer", "Mission District", "18 Years", "Deer-Ree-Shee", "Never/Ever", "Vikings", "You In Color", "The Return" and "Snake In The Grass". CD

Possible matches3
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Marc CaryFour Directions ... CD
Motema, 2013. New Copy ... $7.99 14.98
Marc Cary's working here with his Focus Trio – a mighty cool group that has Sameer Gupta handling tablas as well as drums – an instrument that really helps bring a new sort of groove to the record! Cary's always had a way with richly visionary soundscapes – even in a more standard setting – but here, he slides out with a wide sort of sound that's expressed by a spare group of players – almost a mode that hearkens back to the best 70s moments of ECM, but with some straighter jazz passages as well. In addition to Gupta's drums and tablas, and Cary's acoustic piano, the set also features Burniss Earl Travis on acoustic and electric bass – plus some guest acoustic bass from Rashaan Carter on a few of the numbers that have Travis on electric. Titles include "Open Baby", "Todi Blues", "He Who Hops Around", "Tanktified", "Ready Or Not", and "Spectrum". CD

Possible matches4
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Alan HavenHaven For Sale/St Elmo's Fire ... CD
Columbia/RPM (UK), 1969/1971. New Copy ... $3.99
Two amazing groovers from organist Alan Haven – rare Brit jazz groovers, of the sort we never find in the US! First up is Haven For Sale – a sublime organ jazz set that's quite different than anything coming out of the US scene at the end of the 60s – a wonderful little record that draws strongly from Haven's soundtrack work with John Barry, and his placement in the UK mod scene of the late 60s! Haven's organ has this fantastically clean tone – kind of like Jimmy Smith in the Verve years, but a bit different too – and backed here with some wonderful charts by Keith Mansfield, of Brit sound library fame. Titles are covers, and very groovy ones at that – and cuts include "Norwegian Wood", "Deep Purple", "Our Day Will Come", "Goin Outta My Head", "What The World Needs Now", and "Exodus" – all swung in very groovy ways. Next up is St Elmo's Fire – a completely wonderful set that has UK organist Alan Haven taking off in amazing new directions! The rhythms here are really set loose – no longer tied to conventional organ jazz modes, and filled with lots of new freedoms – yet still keeping things pretty groovy and swinging throughout! Haven plays organ, piano, and instrumental effects too – and percussion is by Robin Jones on drums and timbales, and Tony Uter on additional Latin Percussion – no other instrumentation at all, which makes for a very rhythmic set. Many tunes are originals by Haven – real standout numbers that sparkle beautifully – and titles include "Flying Free", "St Elmo's Fire", "Charade", "Green Iguana", "Last Of The Wild", "Ace One Johnson", and "Soliloquy". CD

Possible matches5
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JJ JohnsonJ Is For Jazz ... CD
Columbia (Japan), 1956. New Copy ... $13.99
Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar". CD

Possible matches6
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Janko NilovicFunky Tramway ... CD
Vadim (France), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $12.99
A rare one from Janko Nilovic – his Funky Tramway – a cosmic jazz funk grail from the early 70s recorded in Belgium with an incredible group of local musicians – a stunner in which Nilovic is blending organically funky grooves with synths and other astral touches as incredibly as ever! If you dug Janko's brilliant Psych Impressions, Soul Impressions and Rythmes Contemporains compilations, there's much to love here – a similar blend of jazz, funk, and spacey prog touches – but the stylistic range here is perhaps even more impressive! There's lots of angelic wordless vocals flowing in and out, primarily from Patricia Maessen, but the group members contribute backing vocals, too, giving this more of a working band feel than some of Janko's sound library recordings of the time. Funky drums, bass, percussion, lots of spacey keys, Moog and trumpet steer the sound in lots of groovy directions. Titles include "Funky Tramway", "Flemish Suite", "Sitting Bull", "Gipsy Funk", "Atomium 82", "Disconnected Song", "Little Butcher's Street", "Fish Market" and more. CD

Possible matches7
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✨✧ DirectionsDirections ... CD
Brunswick/Solid (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the rarest soul records on Brunswick! This one was cut during the mid 70s – when the label was really having some rough times financially, but also was cutting some of its most groundbreaking soul work. The Directions are a tight harmony quintet – equipped, it appears, with their own band (The Directions Band) who give the group a nice rough soul sound. The vocal cuts on the record have sort of a Philly harmony style – with many uptempo numbers that are sort of a rougher version of work by Blue Magic or The Spinners. The instrumental tracks are smooth funk – with lots of tight keyboard work over heavy riffing and vamping, mostly in an uptempo vein. Titles include "Too Many Secrets", "Soup Line", "I Want To Be Your Special Man", "If You Ever", "We Need Love", and "I Love You So". CD
Also available Directions ... LP 19.99

Possible matches8
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✨✧ Sun RaSun Song (aka Jazz By Sun Ra) ... CD
Transition/Delmark, 1956. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Sun Ra's first album as a leader – originally issued on the Transition label, but presented here in its better-known incarnation by Delmark Records! Even at this early point, Ra had a sound unlike any of his contemporaries – large group and modern, but not in a way that showed any similarities to work going on in New York or LA – a voice that was all his own, and already quite boldly stated, even in these early years! The format might be somewhat familiar – an ensemble with horns and rhythm – but the overall execution really starts to open up as the album moves on – with odd phrasings, timings, and unusual moments that live up to all the promise you might expect from Ra. Even Mingus and some of his better-known contemporaries weren't heading in these directions in the mid 50s – and the record is a proud showcase of the freedoms that players were often accorded in the less-trafficked Chicago scene of the time. Horns include Art Hoyle & Dave Young on trumpets, John Gilmore on tenor sax, Pat Patrick on baritone, Julian Priester on trombone, and James Scales on alto sax – and rhythm includes Jim Herndon on tympani, Robert Barry on drums, Wilbur Green on electric bass, and a young Richard Evans on acoustic bass! Titles include "Brainville", "Call For All Demons", "Transition", "Lullaby For Realville", "Street Named Hell", "New Horizons", "Fall Off The Long", "Possession", and "Future". CD
Also available Sun Song (aka Jazz By Sun Ra) ... LP 12.99

Possible matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Don Rendell/Ian Carr QuintetLive At The Union 1966 ... CD
Reel Recordings, 1966. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A rare slice of work from the quintet of reedman Don Rendell and trumpeter Ian Carr – a mid-60s live performance that's released here for the first time ever! The group was one of the most important in England at the time, and hardly recorded many studio records, so a live date like this is a crucial opportunity to hear their amazingly influential sound! Plus, the recording here is a lot more unbridled than most other material we've heard from the combo – a really far-reaching blend of Carr's trumpet with Rendell's flute, tenor, and soprano sax – blowing out in these complex lines on some tracks, showing a bit of influence from Ornette Coleman at points, while heading in warmer, more lyrical directions at others. The rest of the group is great too – the legendary Michael Garrick on piano, adding some nice modal touches – plus Dave Green or Tony Reeves on bass, and Trevor Tompkins on drums. Titles include "On", "Ursula", "Trane's Mood", "Webster's Mood", "Carolling", and "Hot Rod". CD
 
Partial matches: 8
Partial matches10
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Rosemary ClooneyLove (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Reprise (Japan), 1961. Used ... $12.99
A really unusual album from Rosemary Clooney – recorded with lush backings from Nelson Riddle, in a style that gets past the lighter mode of earlier years! Clooney really opens up in Riddle's company – and hits a mature, adult mode that almost points the way towards directions Morgana King would take in later years. The tunes are all extremely well-chosen – and even the older numbers seem to have a more contemporary feel here, thanks to Riddle's unified arrangements throughout – an overall approach that avoids the "fast then slow then fast" mode that sometimes kept other Clooney albums from sounding like more serious vocal efforts. Titles include "Invitation", "I Wish It So", "Yours Sincerely", "Find The Way", "If I Forget You", "More Than You Know", and "Why Shouldn't I". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby HutchersonStick-Up! ... CD
Blue Note, 1966. Used ... $6.99
The sticks are up, and Bobby Hutcherson is at the top of his game – hitting a whole new groove here in this sublime session of modal numbers for Blue Note – a slightly warmer set than his more modern albums of the "new thing" years, and a great indication of the directions he'd take in the 70s! Bobby's vibes are set up wonderfully here in a quintet that includes Joe Henderson on tenor sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Herbie Lewis on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – all players who bring key elements to the groove. Tyner's got an obvious ear for the modal rhythms that Hutcherson's heading for; Higgins' drum work is freely lyrical in all the best ways; and Henderson's horn sharpens the edges of the tunes a bit, bringing in some nice darker sounds. The kickoff track is an amazing modal reading of Ornette's "Una Muy Bonita", and the rest tracks are all Hutcherson originals, including "Summer Nights", "8/4 Beat", "Black Circle", "Verse", and "Blues Mind Matter". CD
Also available Stick-Up! ... LP 24.99

Partial matches12
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✨✧ Masabumi Kikuchi/Masahiko Togashi/Gary PeacockPoesy – The Man Who Keeps Washing His Hands ... CD
Philips/Universal (Japan), 1971. New Copy ... $14.99
A set that definitely lives up to the poetry promised in its title – with none of the too-clean sounds you might guess from its hand-washing reference either! The album's one of the freest, most organic sessions we've heard from pianist Masabumi Kikuchi – almost improvised at points, but with a poetic cohesion in the piano lines that's really great – kind of an offbeat sense of lyricism that points in the same directions that Steve Kuhn or Keith Jarrett were heading in the late 60s. Drummer Masahiko Togashi plays lots of cool percussion and even a bit of gong – and Gary Peacock's bass here is as great as on any of his other excellent Japanese recordings. Titles include "Dreams", "The Trap", "The Milky Way", "Apple", "Get Magic Again", and "End". CD

Partial matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousDeutsches Jazz Festival 1954 to 1955 (8CD set) ... CD
Bear Family (Germany), 1954/1955. New Copy 8CD ... $139.99 189.98
A wonderful snapshot of the German jazz scene in the 50s – a massive set that brings together all the recordings from the German Jazz Festival of 1955, plus a fair bit from 1954 as well – all in a lavish box set that includes a giant booklet of notes! German jazz was really held back in the 40s – partly because of Nazi opinions about jazz and swing – but it really took off in the 50s, as a huge range of American influences inspired German musicians, who took their own sounds in some great new directions! Most notable here are the budding modernists who performed at the festivals – including Jutta Hipp, Hans Koller, Erwin Lehn, Paul Kuhn, Wolfgang Lauth, and Harald Banter – all of whom get a fair number of tracks, in work that really augments our understanding of their too-few recordings from this time. There's also some larger groups with a tight swing vibe – including lots of work by Kurt Edelhagen, including tracks with vocals from Caterina Valente, who sings on some other selections too – and there's even a smaller amount of trad groups, who represented a surprisingly strong slice of the scene at the time. The package has approximately 725 minutes of music – a hell of a lot of listening for a time machine like this! CD

Partial matches14
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✨✧ Cravo E CanelaPreco De Cada Um ... CD
Mr Bongo (UK), 1977. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A great little Brazilian group from the 70s – one who continues the harmony styles of Sergio Mendes in the 60s, but takes the music into some groovy new directions! The sounds here are more samba than bossa – with guitar and percussion dancing nicely together in the rhythms as group members sing sweetly over the top – and both piano and keyboards adding in some nicely jazzy inflections to the groove, often with the more sophisticated phrasings you might expect in some of the EMI/Odeon work from earlier in the decade. Sivuca joins the group on both accordion and moog (!) – and the whole thing's got a sweetly-grooving style that's totally great! Titles include "Estatutos De Gafiera", "Loteca", "Amor Em Jacuma", " Iboru Iboya", "Beijo Baiano", "O Trem Atrazou", "Asa Branca", and "Fogo Pago". CD

Partial matches15
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✨✧ Wayne ShorterMoto Grosso Feio ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1970. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A perfect illustration of the rich new directions Wayne Shorter was taking at the start of the 70s – an amazing flurry of sounds and styles that's light years ahead of where he began in the 60s! Shorter's one of those players who was already great at the start – an amazing tenorist, both on his own and with the groups of Art Blakey and Miles Davis – yet by the time of this record, he'd absorbed a huge amount of influences from Brazilian music, modal jazz, the spiritual underground, and even the free European scene – all of which come to play on the long, complex tunes on the set! The record has Shorter working with some other key contemporaries of this new moment in jazz – John McLaughlin on 12 string guitar, Chick Corea on marimba and percussion, Dave Holland and Miroslav Vitous on bass, and Ron Carter on cello – all players who have the same open, exploratory vibe as Wayne's own lines on tenor and soprano sax. Titles include an excellent cover of Milton Nascimento's "Vera Cruz", plus the tracks "Antiqua", "Iska", and "Montezuma". CD
Also available Moto Grosso Feio ... LP 4.99

Partial matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousDust On The Nettles – A Journey Through The British Underground Folk Scene 1967 to 1972 (3CD set) ... CD
Grapefruit (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 3 CDs ... Out Of Stock
British folk music got really weird and wonderful at the end of the 60s – light years from the crew cut versions of The Kingston Trio, or the twangy modes of Bob Dylan wannabees – but also very different from the more rockish directions that American folk acts were taking at the time! If anything, the British artists showed an even deeper commitment to acoustic modes – and far more ancient ones than American groups had access too – a thousand year legacy of British Isles music, but reworked into an often-trippy style would find more famous iterations in groups from Fairport Convention through Current 93, and even in the Wicker Man soundtrack as well! Most of the music here is much more obscure than those references – groups that were big in the UK, but maybe didn't have as much of an impact over here during the period – which makes this 63 track box set a real treasure trove of discovery – filled with many tunes we'd never heard before, and put together in a very special way. Titles include "Black Girl" by Mary Anne, "Till The Morning Comes" by Dando Shaft, "Roses For Columbus" by Mark Frhy, "Love Is A Funny Thing" by Spyrogyra, "Come All You Travellers" by Wight, "Willow's Song" by Nagnet, "Cruious Crystals Of Unusual Purity" by Bridget St John, "Prisoners Victims Strangers Friends" by Paper Bubble, "Gabilan" by Duncan Browne, "Meeting By The Moonlight Mill" by Dry Heart, "Silence Returns" by Beau, "Me & My Kite" by Fuschia, "The Colour Is Blue" by Country Sun, "Welcome To The Citadel" by Marc Brierley, "Garden Song (demo)" by Bill Fay, and "Upon Reflection" by Heron. CD

Partial matches17
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✨✧ Gary McFarlandSoft Samba ... CD
Verve (Japan), 1964. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A dream of a record from Gary McFarland – lightly jazzy instrumentals with a warm bossa nova undercurrent! The style is incredible – a sweet blend of vibes, guitar, and even some light whistling – often also featuring wordless jazz vocals – scatting along with the groove in a melodic and lovely kind of way! The whole thing's incredibly charming, and even familiar tunes come across sounding quite different in McFarlands hands. Titles include "From Russia With Love", "More", "Emily", "La Vie En Rose", "The Love Goddess", and even a groovy take on "I Want To Hold Your Hand". For you true swingers, the cover includes directions for mixing a "Soft Samba Cocktail" (courtesy Spanish Sherry Institute)! CD
 
 
 



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