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Close matches: 8
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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Harold MabernIron Man – Live At Smoke ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy 2CDs ... Out Of Stock
Pianist Harold Mabern works here with a trio of players who really helped him find new focus and energy in later years – the great Eric Alexander on tenor, with John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums – a rock-solid lineup who really take off here in a live date from New York's Smoke nightclub! Tracks are all long, and have that solid, soaring sense of groove that always marked Mabern in his early years – but which was lost a bit in the 80s and 90s, until he teamed up with Alexander – and found the kind of inspiration that's returned him to greatness for most of the last 20 years! The songs are straightforward, but filled with searing solos – and with Webber and Farnsworth on hand, things keep swinging in all the right ways. Alexander himself seems to have unlocked a whole new corner of his talents in recent years – very much on display here – and titles include "A Few Miles From Memphis", "Nightlife In Tokyo", "She's Out Of My Life", "Mr PC", "On A Clear Day", "Rakin & Scrapin", "T Bone Steak", and "I Know That You Know". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Steve DavisCorrelations ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... $15.99 17.98
Trombonist Steve Davis blows here with the Correlations Sextet – a group we might be hearing for the first time, and who add just another mighty feather to Steve's already-stuffed cap! Davis has really taken off in the past decade or so – always a strong trombonist, but now and equally-wonderful leader – with a way of shaping sound and moving all the elements of a group that remind us a lot of the moment when JJ Johnson took off and really found a way to make small combos cook – or maybe even a bit like the way that the lesser-known Eje Thelin could spin things out without ever losing his groove! The lineup features Wayne Escoffery on tenor, Joshua Bruneau on trumpet, Xavier Davis on piano, Dezron Douglas on bass, and Jonathan Barber on drums – a number of whom are great leaders on their own – and Davis contributed a number of original titles to the set – including "Embarcadero", "Song For My Love", "Batista's Revenge", "Newbie", "Can't Complain", and "Blues For Owen". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Big BandPresence ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2018. New Copy ... $15.99 17.99
We love the music of pianist Orrin Evans in many different ways – but we especially love the sounds he makes with his Captain Black Big Band – a really tremendous ensemble that seems to unlock a whole new dynamic energy in his performance! The group here is heavy on horns – two trumpets, two trombones, alto and tenor – shifting a bit throughout the concert here, and really rising wonderfully from the energy that Evans brings on piano! Orrin's sense of sound is beautiful – bold, rich, and visionary – while also still allowing plenty of room for the individual players to really do their thing – as the long tracks here are awash in great solos that have as much power on their own as the ensemble. Rhythm is from Madison Rast on bass and either Anwar Marshall or Jason Brown on drums – and titles include "Trams", "Flip The Script", "Onward", "Question", "The Scythe", and "Answer". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Louis HayesReturn Of The Jazz Communicators ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2014. Used ... $4.99
Drummer Louis Hayes always finds a way of working with great groups – and here he's got an especially well-chosen lineup with Abraham Burton on tenor and Steve Nelson on vibes! Both players ring out with this strongly soulful vibe that's clearly inspired by the leader – Burton's very deep tones a perfect complement to some of the sharper, more modern lines from Nelson – driven strongly by the work of David Bryant on piano and the excellent Dezron Douglas on bass. Hayes' power can be felt strongly, even in mellower moments – and Nelson's oft-percussive approach to his tones makes for an excellent choice for the group. Titles include "Shape Shifting", "Groovin For Nat", "Soul Leo", "Simple Pleasures", "Vagabond Ron", and "Lou's Idea". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Heads Of State (Bartz/Willis/Williams/Foster)Four In One ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2017. New Copy ... $9.99 17.99
Here's a group we'd gladly vote for heads of state – a sharp quartet that features some wonderful alto work from the great Gary Bartz – who gets plenty of space to open us as a soloist in a more traditional setting – following that great path he's taken on the second half of his career! But the group's very equally-weighted in terms of skills – more of a four-pointed star than a foil for a single soloist – as players include the mighty Larry Willis on piano, David Williams on bass, and All Foster on drums – coming together here as a very well-matched unite. Group members contribute some great material – including the tracks "Keep The Master In Mind", "Aloysius", "And He Called Himself A Messenger", and "The Day You Said Goodbye" – and the album also features versions of "Four In One", "Sippin At Bells", "Milestones", and "Dance Cadaverous". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harold MabernRight On Time ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2013. New Copy ... $15.99 17.98
Bold, soulful work from the great Harold Mabern – and a record that really takes us back to his soaring modal groove of the 60s! Mabern's still got some of the lighter lyricism of more recent years here – but he also seems to pack a bit more punch from a rhythmic tip, too – no surprise, given that his trio features the great John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums! Over the years, both players have really seemed to grow tremendously working with Mabern – and a record like this really comes across with a strong sense of fruition – proof that great jazz musicians never stop growing, and can always hit even higher heights than before. Titles include "Dance With Me", "My Favorite Things", "Edward Lee", "Making Our Dreams Come True", "Charade", "Cherokee", and "Blues For Frank N Paul N All". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eric ReedEverybody Gets The Blues ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... $15.99 17.98
Really great work from pianist Eric Reed – a musician who's been recording for years, but who feels here as if he's unlocked a whole new creative side of his personality! The album's got a number of strengths that stand out right away – firstly in that Reed plays both piano and Fender Rhodes, the latter of which is often handled differently, which makes for an expanded sense of voice on the record! Next, the group features some strong contributions from Tim Green on alto and soprano sax – not on every number, but in enough spots to punctuate the sound and shift things in a great way. Lastly, Reed's come up with some excellent tunes for the set – rich numbers that make us feel like he's really deepened his sense of writing too. The rhythm duo crackles along nicely – Mike Gurrola on bass and McClenty Hunter on drums – and titles include "Martha's Prize", "Dear Bud", "New Morning", "Everybody Gets The Blues", "Cedar Waltzin/Don't You Worry Bout A Thing", and "Yesterday/Yesterdays". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Harold Mabern with Gregory Porter & Kurt EllingAfro Blue ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2015. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
The great Harold Mabern kicks it hard with a key core group – then finds a way to open up with some surprise guest artists as well – including singers Gregory Porter, Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, and Norah Jones! The core of the album features Mabern's piano rocketing out with rhythm from John Webber on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums – and getting some strong tenor work from the mighty Eric Alexander – and as the set goes on, the group also brings in Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Peter Bernstein on guitar, and Steve Turre on trombone. But the key force here is the singers – especially Porter and Elling, who seem to find an old school space with the group that really takes them back to their roots. Elling sings on "You Needed Me", "Portrait Of Jennie", and "Billie's Bounce"'; Porter sings on "Afro Blue" and "The Man From Hyde Park"; Monheit sings on "I'll Take Romance" and "My One & Only Love"; and Norah Jones sings on "Don't Misunderstand" and "Fools Rush In". CD also features Alexis Cole on "Such Is Life" – and the instrumental tracks "The Chief", "Mozzin", and "Bobby Benny Jymie Lee Bu". CD
Possible matches: 5
Possible matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Eddie KendricksThin Man – The Motown Solo Albums Vol 2 (Boogie Down/He's A Friend/Slick/Hit Man/Goin' Up In Smoke/Lost & Found) ... CD
Motown/Hip-O Select, 1974/1975/1976/1977. Used 3CD ... Just Sold Out!
Mindblowing work from Eddie Kendricks – not just for the scope of material included in the set, but also because there's a quality level here that rivals mid 70s Marvin Gaye at his best! The 3CD package features 5 studio albums from Eddie, plus a full bonus set of "lost and found" tracks pulled from his studio years at Motown – all packaged into one amazing set that has an incredible amount of power! The albums on the set are all incredibly tight – produced with a bit of a groove, but also some nice mellow moments – and handled by the likes of Frank Wilson, Leonard Caston, and Norman Harris – all of whom respect Eddie's vocals, but really help give his music a tight focus. The 3CD set features 45 tracks in all – including the entirety of the albums Boogie Down, The Hit Man, He's A Friend, Goin Up In Smoke, and Slick – and 8 more previously unissued titles, most recorded during the sessions for the People Hold On album! CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Greg PerrySmokin' ... LP
RCA, 1977. Very Good- ... Just Sold Out!
A great little album of smooth soul cuts from Greg Perry – an extremely talented arranger, producer, and songwriter whose credits includes work in soul, pop, and country – appearing here in one of the few sessions he ever cut under his own name! There's a bit of a southern soul feel to the album, although most of the record's got a modern feel – and we'd compare this one to mid 70s work by Lou Courtney, which has a similar combination of styles. A classic level effort that's been too long undiscovered! Cuts include "Where There's Smoke (There's Fire)", "Melody", "(I Can See The) Handwriting On The Wall", "How's Your Love Life, Baby", "A Taste Of You (Is A Taste Of Love)", "Come Fly With Me", "I'll Always Be In Love With You" and "Let's Get Away From It All". LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has some wear and marker.)

Possible matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Elvin JonesDear John C (with bonus track) ... CD
Impulse/MCA, 1965. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the more unusual albums on Impulse – and a beautiful session that's filled with surprises you wouldn't expect! Elvin Jones leads a group of well-chosen bandmates in a hip set of tracks that's sort of a "letter" to Coltrane – with groupings that include either Roland Hanna or Hank Jones on piano, plus Richard Davis bass, and Charlie Mariano on alto sax! Mariano is the real highlight of the album, and his sparkling alto playing on the disc is some of his finest work from the 60s – really standing out in one of his few American sessions from the middle part of the decade – soulful, but searching too – very well presented in an album of Coltrane-ness. Titles include "Love Bird", "Fantazm", "Ballade", "Dear John C", and "Smoke Rings". Also features the bonus track "That Five-Four Bag". CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Mike CooperOh Really/Do I Know You/Trout Steel/Places I Know/Machine Gun Co (plus bonus tracks) (3CD set) ... CD
Dawn/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 3CD ... Out Of Stock
An amazing legacy in music from Mike Cooper – a British musician who started out in the world of folk blues, but never ended up moving towards some of the rockish modes of his contemporaries – instead finding his very own sort of special space in the freedom allowed by the Dawn Records label! The set begins with the very spare Oh Really – a set that has Mike Cooper mostly on guitar and vocals, in a style that's part Piedmont, part Delta blues – but also given a more folksy spin, and graced with Cooper's unusual vocals – almost making the whole thing feel like a spare acoustic version of Canned Heat territory – with titles that include "Maggie Campbell", "Saturday Blues", "Electric Chair", "Crow Jane", and "You're Gonna Be Sorry". Do I Know you is a record that follows up with a sound that's maybe a bit fuller than Mike Cooper's debut, but still relatively spare – with Mike on acoustic guitar and slide guitar, Harry Miller on bass (really great bass, by the way!), and Poor Little Anne on a bit of vocals. Miller brings these deep tones to the record that really transform things – and titles include "Do I Know You", "Start Of A Journey", "First Song", "Theme In C", and "The Link". Trout Steel is a beautiful set from the British scene at the start of the 70s – a record that's got a fairly folksy tone, but lots of jazzy currents as well! The set was issued on the seminal Dawn Records label – and really shows that imprint's commitment to the left side of the spectrum – as Mike Cooper's vocals and acoustic guitar come into play with more guitar from Stefan Grossman – plus alto sax from Mike Osborne, tenor and soprano from Alan Skidmore, piano from John Taylor, and bass from the late Harry Miller – all key players on the UK avant jazz scene of the time! The mix of these players with Cooper's core inspiration is not unlike some of the most progressive material coming from Island Records – or, even better, the special jazzy moments on records by Tim Buckley or Tim Hardin – company that Cooper could very easily keep, given the strength of his songwriting. Titles include "Don't Talk Too Fast", "On My Way", "Hope You See", "Weeping Rose", "Trout Steel", "I've Got Mine", "That's How", and "Pharoah's March". Places I Know blends Cooper's acoustic guitar and rootsy vocals with some very compelling arrangements from Mike Gibbs – the British jazz talent who was already known for his larger ensemble creations at the time, but who works here in these really subtle ways – to inflect Cooper's core inspirations with just some slight instrumental colors, tones, and phrases on most numbers – while Cooper brings in the core Machine Gun Co group on a few more. The result is a record that's way more than familiar folk – and arguably a lot hipper than most of the British acid folk of the time, too – on titles that include "Night Journey", "Paper & Smoke", "Country Water", "Time To Time", "Goodbye Blues Goodbye", and "Places I Know". The Machine Gun Co album is a partner record to Places I Know – recorded in the same sessions, but with tracks that are longer, and even more openly expressive – all with backings from the sweet Machine Gun Co quartet, a group with some especially nice electric piano from Alan Cook! Heavy use of that instrument really works against some of the folksier elements in Cooper's music – with these blocks of warm sound and color that really illuminate the tunes, and almost unlock a new level in the vocals. Cooper plays a bit of electric guitar at times – and titles include "So Glad That I Found You", "Lady Anne", "Midnight Words", and "Song For Abigail". CD also features songs from singles – "Your Lovely Ways (parts 1 & 2)", "Time In Hand", and "Schaabisch Hall". CD

Possible matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Nina SimoneMood Indigo – The Complete Bethlehem Singles (with bonus 7 inch single) ... LP
Bethlehem, Late 50s/Early 60s. New Copy Gatefold ... Out Of Stock
An unusual look at the earliest work of singer Nina Simone – as the set presents all her original Bethlehem Records 45s – all in their rare mono mixes! The tracks here were all issued as singles, but almost all of them came from the sessions for the album Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street Club – one of her first albums ever, but already with an approach that's quite different from other singers of the time! Nina's singing a fair bit of standards here, but she brings a deeply personal approach to the material – inflecting the tunes with gospel-inspired soul, and showing some very slight folksy touches – of the sort that would come in more heavily on later records, but which is already shining pretty strongly here! Nina accompanies herself on some mighty soulful piano – with bass from Jimmy Bond and drums from Al Heath – on titles that include "Plain Gold Ring", "Good Bait", "He Needs Me", "Don't Smoke In Bed", and "For All We Know". The collection also features the stunning "African Mailman" – one of Nina's most hard-wailing groovers ever – and an alternate take on "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands". Very cool package – with a bonus replica 7" single of "Porgy" and "Love Me Or Leave Me". LP, Vinyl record album
(Includes bonus 7 inch!)
Partial matches: 3
Partial matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Rusty BryantRusty Bryant Returns ... LP
Prestige, 1969. New Copy (reissue)... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A real smoker of a session – Rusty Bryant's first comeback album of the jazz funk years, done in a mode that virtually set the tone for other Prestige sessions of the time! Rusty's working here on alto sax, in a mode that's clearly inspired by the Lou Donaldson sessions of the time on Blue Note – but done with a freer, looser, more rolling sort of vibe. Organist Sonny Phillips really makes the set great with some fluid work on the Hammond that matches Bryant's groove – and guitarist Grant Green's also in the group, setting up some great single note lines that punctuate the tunes nicely. A key factor is also bassist Bob Bushnell, who plays Fender bass on the record (an element missing from the Donaldson sound), and gives the record a key bit of motion at the bottom! Tracks include the groovy "Zoo Boogaloo", plus "Streak O' Lean", "Night Flight", "The Cat", and "Ready Rusty". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ JJ JohnsonFirst Place ... LP
Columbia, 1957. Very Good ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
JJ Johnson's always a cooker, but during the late 50s he cut some incredible records for the Columbia label – tight bop sessions that still stand as some of his best work! This album's one of them – a real smoker of a set that features Johnson's trombone as the only lead horn in a cool quartet that also includes Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Max Roach on drums – a crackling rhythm trio who make the record move a lot more than most other jazz sessions on Columbia at the time! Johnson's sense of tone and phrasing is wonderful – unadorned by any other horns, but a very powerful solo vehicle, especially in the company of the other players – and titles include "Harvey's House", "That Tired Old Routine Called Love", "Nickels & Dimes", "Be My Love", "Paul's Pal", and "Commutation". LP, Vinyl record album
(Mono 6 eye pressing with deep groove, matrix ending in 1B/1AC. Cover has some wear and aging and a center split in the bottom seam.)

Partial matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sam RiversInvolution (Dimensions & Extensions/Change) ... LP
Blue Note, 1967/1975. Near Mint- 2LP Gatefold ... $34.99
2LP set that brings together 2 (then) unreleased sessions recorded by Sam Rivers for Blue Note during the mid 60s! The first album was later issued as Dimensions & Extensions – and features Sam Rivers starting to stretch out and get kind of free in a bit of a Blue Note late 60s New Thing mode, but still hanging back from the freer side he'd explore on later recordings for Impulse. James Spaulding, Donald Byrd, Julian Priester, and Cecil McBee are in the larger piano-less band which Rivers would later move away from as he started playing in more trio and small group settings. 6 tracks in all: "Precis", "Paean", "Effusive Melange", "Involution", "Afflatus" and "Helix". Next up is extremely dark material recorded by Andrew Hill as a leader, but featuring Rivers on tenor – a quartet date that's filled with jagged edges and bold fragments of sound! There's a really strong new thing vibe going on here – at a level that matches the brilliance of Hill's Smokestack album, but which is perhaps even better, given Rivers' sharp lines on tenor! As with many of the best Blue Note sets in this mode, the bass and drums almost get equal space with the main solo instruments – so that the percussion of JC Moses and bass of Walter Booker often hang out in space, shaping the sound of the record on their own, as all players contribute equally to the structure of the songs. Hill wrote all the numbers on the set, and titles include "Violence", "Pain", "Illusion", "Hope", "Lust", and "Desire". LP, Vinyl record album

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