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Close matches: 15
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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Harold MabernIron Man – Live At Smoke ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy 2CDs ... Temporarily 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

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Wayne EscofferyHumble Warrior ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2020. New Copy ... $14.99 18.99
There's nothing humble about the sound of Wayne Escoffery on this great little set – as the tenor giant really comes on strong, blowing with a ferocity that really matches the energy of the rest of the group! There's a stunning rhythm trio at the core – David Kikoski on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, and Ralph Peterson Jr on drums – who work together with these bold, chunky building blocks of sound – even when things are mellow – which seems to give Escoffery's horn a sense of majesty we don't always hear on other records, and which rises up even more when joined by guest work from Randy Brecker on trumpet and David Gilmore on guitar! The album's also got some interesting spiritual elements at the core – fresh reworkings of pieces of a mass by Benjamin Britten, re-arranged for small combo energy by Escoffery – mixed with originals by some of the group. Vaughn Escoffery sings on "Sanctus" – and other titles include "Quarter Moon", "The Humble Warrior", "Chain Gang", "Back To Square One", "AKA Reggie", and "Undefined". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Vincent Herring/Bobby Watson/Gary BartzBird At 100 ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... $14.99 17.98
A tribute to the music of Charlie Parker – but a set that sparkles more from the individual inspiration of the three alto giants in the lead – a great lineup that features Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson, and Vincent Herring! The tracks are long, with great lead passages that have all three horns soaring together, then individual solos from each player – and although the songs include a number of classics from the Charlie Parker songbook, the album also features original tunes by Herring and Watson, and another by Jackie McLean – maybe marking the whole thing as being very much in the spirit of its title – a look back at a century that's felt the influence of Bird, with all the alto sax changes that have taken place in the time since his passing. The rhythm trio is excellent too – David Kikoski on piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Carl Allen on drums – and titles include "Bird-Ish", "Klactoveedsedstene", "The Hymn", "Folklore", "Bird Lives", and "Yardbird Suite". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harold MabernMabern Plays Mabern ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2020. New Copy ... $14.99 18.98
A heartbreakingly beautiful album from pianist Harold Mabern – a set that's already beautiful on its own, but which maybe moves us even more when we realize it's one of the last that Harold has ever given us! The set's recorded at the Smoke nightclub on the upper west side – and features fantastic energy from some familiar players who've worked with Mabern often, and who maybe even rise up in great spirits together – in a set that's an unintentional memorial to the wonderful music that all of them made together during the final decades of Harold's life! In addition to Mabern on piano, the group also features Eric Alexander on tenor, Vincent Herring on alto, Steve Davis on trombone, John Webber on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums – and as you'd guess by the title, there's a fair bit of original Mabern compositions in the set – including "Mr Johnson", "Rakin & Scrapin", "The Beehive", "Edward Lee", and "The Lyrical Cole-Man". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harold Mabern with Gregory Porter & Kurt EllingAfro Blue ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2015. New Copy ... $14.99 17.99
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

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Nicholas PaytonRelaxin With Nick ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 21.98
A really unique album from trumpeter Nicholas Payton – a musician who's given us plenty of major label records over the years, but who really sounds different here in a stripped-down set for the Smoke Sessions label! The album's just a trio date – with the sublime rhythm duo of Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums – two players who can make anything sound wonderful, and who provide a perfect foil for the openly expressive sound of Payton – as he moves between trumpet, piano, and Fender Rhodes on the set – and even throws in a few effects and samples too! Don't worry about those last elements, though – because there's nothing gimmicky about the record, which maybe opens up Nicholas at one of his most clearly personal levels in years – on long titles that include "Eight", "Othello", "Stablemates", "Jazz Is A Four Letter Word", "1983", "A", "F", "Five", "I Hear A Rhapsody", and "Relaxin With Nick". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby WatsonKeepin It Real ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2020. New Copy ... $14.99 17.99
Bobby Watson's always keeping it real in our book – as the alto saxophonist maybe hasn't made a bad record ever, and has continued to turn out the sort of fantastic music we loved right when he was an up-and-comer in an 80s version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers! Here, Bobby's working with some key talents from his solo years – a re-formed New Horizon group that features excellent work on bass from Curtis Lundy, drums from Victor Jones, and piano from Victor Gould – plus trumpet work on some tracks by Josh Evans and on others by Giveton Gellin! The use of trumpet is somewhat striking, as it's an instrument that's not always in place on some of Bobby's small combo sessions – and both Evans and Gellin are clearly inspired by the warmth of the leader – as both soar out with a wonderfully full, rich sound that only adds to the classic soulful touch of Watson on the alto. Titles include Watson and Lundy originals "Keepin It Real", "One For John", "My Song", "The Mystery of Ebop", and "Elementary My Dear Watson 2020" – plus a nice take on the Donny Hathaway tune "Someday We'll All Be Free". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby WatsonMade In America ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2017. Used ... $9.99
A fantastic set from one of our all-time favorite saxophonists – a musician who gave us a flurry of wonderful albums in the 80s and 90s, but hasn't graced the record racks as much in recent years! Fortunately, Bobby Watson's lost none of his charms at all – and really sounds beautiful here in some very familiar company – the trio of bassist Curtis Lundy, one of Watson's first important musical partners – which also features Stephen Scott on piano and Lewis Nash on drums! The group's got every bit of the soulful swing that you might expect – and Watson soars out with those sublime note on alto sax that we first fell in love with when he was part of the Jazz Messengers in the 70s. The material is very fresh too – as the set includes loads of originals by Bobby – reminding us again what a hell of a writer he can be – on titles that include "The Aviator", "The Cyclist", "The Goat", "The Luckey", "The Real Lone Ranger", "The Butterfly", and "The Guitarist". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ George ColemanGeorge Coleman – The Quartet ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Tenorist George Coleman has a long legacy that stretches back decades in jazz – but here, he slides into a setting that most folks would associate with the work of saxophonist Eric Alexander – a quartet that features Harold Mabern on piano, John Webber on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums! The group's a rock-solid lineup that you've heard on many other records – but the presence of Coleman really changes up their sound – especially since George brings in all this complexity with his phrasing and timing, which then seems to get folded back on the way that the rhythm section reacts to his lead! The tracks are long, with lots of space for Coleman to stretch out – and the record may be one of the best that he's done in many years – with phrasing that really blows us away. Titles include "Paul's Call", "East 9th Street Blues", "I Wish You Love", "Triste", "Along Came Betty", and "Lollipops & Roses". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Eddie HendersonShuffle & Deal ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2020. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A crackling sharp album from trumpeter Eddie Henderson – a set that's got Eddie blowing in some of the more swinging, soulful sides of his spectrum – with support from an excellent group who really keep things moving! There's a tight rhythm trio at the core – Kenny Barron on piano, Gerald Cannon on bass, and Mike Clark on drums – and Barron's ability to roll out rich lines full of feeling really helps set the tone for the set – while alto player Donald Harrison joins Eddie up top, really dealing out some great moments next to the chromatic quality of Henderson's horn. Titles include "Cook's Bay", "By Any Means", "Flight Path", "Shuffle & Deal", "Burnin", "Boom", and "God Bless The Child". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jimmy CobbThis I Dig Of You ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Drummer Jimmy Cobb has been in many great groups over the decade – and here, he's leading one of his own – a rock-solid quartet that features piano from Harold Mabern, bass from John Webber, and some especially nice guitar from Peter Bernstein! Bernstein's voice is right out front on most tracks – taking the lead, and getting some great solo space too – with a strong tone that really rings out, and which is matched by always-great work from Harold Mabern – a player who's been around as long as Cobb, and who just keeps knocking us out with excellent music over the years. Titles include Mabern's original "Edward Lee", the Bernstein tune "Blood Wolf Mon Blues", and versions of "Full House", "Yesterdays", "This I Dig Of You", "My Old Flame", and "Cheese Cake". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Big BandIntangible Between ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2020. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Orrin Evans is a hell of a pianist, but he's also a hell of a bandleader too – stepping out here with his excellent Captain Black Big Band – an always-great unit that shows off a whole new dimension of Evans' mighty talents! The music is rich and bold right from the start – and clearly, the leader is much more of a mutual participant in the proceedings than the boss – as the horns alone have these individual flourishes and power as a whole that's really amazing – a sense of color and richness that's very distinct from Orrin's piano, and which maybe gets even more presence in the mix. Players include Todd Bashore, Immanuel Wilkins, and Caleb Wheeler Curtis on alto saxes; Josh Lawrence, Sean Jones, and Thomas Marriott on trumpets; David Gibson, Reggie Watkins, and Stafford Hunter on trombones; Troy Roberts on tenor; Stacy Dillard on soprano; Luques Curtis and Madison Rast on bass; Jason Brown and Mark Whitfield Jr on drums; and Evans on piano. A few tracks feature slight vocal contributions – and titles include "That Too", "A Time For Love", "Proclaim Liberty", "Tough Love", and "I'm So Glad I Got To Know You". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Steve DavisCorrelations ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
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 matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Orrin EvansEvolution Of Oneself ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2015. Used ... Out Of Stock
The title here is very apt – as Orrin Evans is a pianist who seems to be in a constant state of evolution these days – from his wonderful work on larger projects, to his completely sublime sounds in a trio like this! Evans' notes seem even more fluid and cascading than ever – set up beautifully here alongside Christian McBride on bass and Karriem Riggins on drums – in a trio mode that breaks down most previous expectations of a group like this – with this magical dance between rhythm and melody, and a really three-cornered approach to the groove – but one that's clearly inspired by Evans' fantastic work as a leader. There's a bit of added instrumentation from Marvin Sewell on guitar on two tracks, and JD Walter sings on the album's final number – and titles include "For Miles", "Sweet Sid", "Wildwood Flower", "Iz Beatdown Time", "Feb 13th", "Spot It You Got It", and "Ruby Red". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Eric ReedEverybody Gets The Blues ... CD
Smoke Sessions, 2019. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
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
Possible matches: 5
Possible matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Donald Byrd & Gigi GryceComplete Jazz Lab Studio Sessions Vol 1 ... CD
Columbia/Lonehill (Spain), 1957. Used ... $12.99
Incredible work from the team of Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce – crisp modern jazz, filled with soul, and never failing to swing! During the time of these recordings, Gryce was one hell of an arranger – with a tight ensemble approach that worked magic in a small combo setting. He was also a tremendous alto player – with a tone that was unlike any other musician at the time, magically sharp, with a sound that always seemed to inspire a great deal of energy from his bandmates. He gets plenty of that here from trumpeter Donald Byrd – sounding better on these sides than on most of his other 50s recordings – thanks also to some great accompanists, who include Tommy Flanagan, Wendell Marshall, and Art Taylor. Some tunes feature additional horn work from players that include Benny Powell, Julius Watkins, and Sahib Shihab. Volume 1 in this Lonehill's Complete Jazz Lab Studio Sessions mixes 13 tracks originally released on the LPs Jazz Lab, Modern Jazz Perspective, plus mutual tracks with the rare compilation Jazz Omnibus. Titles include "Nica's Tempo", "Smoke Signal", "Over The Rainbow", "Sans Souci", "Speculation", "Stablemates", "Steppin Out", "Social Call", "Satellite", "An Evening In Casablanca" and more! CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jackie McLeanNature Boy ... CD
Blue Note, 1999. Used ... $5.99
A very nice recent album by Jackie, featuring a stripped-down lineup that includes Cedar Walton on piano and Billy Higgins on drums, joining Jackie in a haunting set of mellow ballads. After years of playing, Jackie's tone is impeccable, and it's great to hear him work through a set of standards like the ones on this album – "Star Eyes", "Nature Boy", "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", and "You Don't Know What Love Is". Sure, the album's not as groundbreaking as some of Jackie's 60s new thing records, or 70s spiritual sessions, but it's still a nice treat, and has a surprisingly compelling edge to it. CD
(Out of print. Mark through barcode, promotional stamp on CD.)

Possible matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Otis SpannBlues Is Where It's At ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1966. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Otis Spann made some great records over the years, but he sounds especially nice on the handful of sessions he did for the Bluesway label – which seem to take a Chess Records approach, then give the whole thing an extra-added punch! Otis is in the lead on piano and vocals, but the group's got searing guitar from Muddy Watters, Sammy Lawhorn, and Luther Johnson – kicked in by fantastic rhythms from Mac Arnold on electric bass and Francis Clay on drops – all topped by some smoking work from George Smith on harmonica! The set was recorded live in the studio, and you can definitely hear some of the guests having a good time – while the group smoke their way through tunes that include "Popcorn Man", "Spann Blues", "Chicago Blues", "My Home Is On The Delta", "Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do", and "Down On Sarah Street". CD
Also available Blues Is Where It's At ... LP 33.99

Possible matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Otis SpannBlues Is Where It's At ... LP
Bluesway, Late 60s. Very Good ... $33.99
Otis Spann made some great records over the years, but he sounds especially nice on the handful of sessions he did for the Bluesway label – which seem to take a Chess Records approach, then give the whole thing an extra-added punch! Otis is in the lead on piano and vocals, but the group's got searing guitar from Muddy Watters, Sammy Lawhorn, and Luther Johnson – kicked in by fantastic rhythms from Mac Arnold on electric bass and Francis Clay on drops – all topped by some smoking work from George Smith on harmonica! The set was recorded live in the studio, and you can definitely hear some of the guests having a good time – while the group smoke their way through tunes that include "Popcorn Man", "Spann Blues", "Chicago Blues", "My Home Is On The Delta", "Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do", and "Down On Sarah Street". LP, Vinyl record album
(Cover has some wear and aging.)
Also available Blues Is Where It's At ... CD 8.99

Possible matches20
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

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