Monday, December 21, 2009

Gary Peacock - Voice from the Past ­ Paradigm - ECM - 1981

Gary Peacock - Voice from the Past ­ Paradigm - ECM - 1981

1 Voice from the Past
2 Legends
3 Moor
4 Allegory
5 Paradigm
6 Ode for Tomten

Gary Peacock bass
Jan Garbarek tenor and soprano saxophones
Tomasz Stanko trumpet
Jack DeJohnette drums

Recorded August 1981

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rudy Van Gelder

Rudy Van Gelder (born 2 November 1924, Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American recording engineer specializing in jazz.

Frequently regarded as one of the most important recording engineers in music history, Van Gelder is one of the legendary behind-the-scenes figures in jazz, recording several hundred jazz sessions, including many widely recognized as classics. Bringing an unprecedented clarity to jazz recording, Van Gelder has recorded many of the great names in the genre, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Grant Green, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, and many others. He worked with many record companies, but he is most closely associated with Blue Note Records, now a division of EMI.

Van Gelder's recording techniques are often admired for the warmth and presence he brings to the end result. Some critics however have also expressed a distaste for the thin and recessed sound in the instruments, mainly the piano. Richard Cook for example noted that the manner in which Van Gelder recorded piano was often as distinctive as the pianists' playing. Blue Note president and producer Alfred Lion often noted that Rudy was sometimes a little heavy on the reverb and would jokingly note that on the tape box as a "Rudy special".

Blue Note Perfect Takes (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition Remastered)

This is basically a curiosity piece for harder than hardcore jazz fans. These ten tracks were chosen by Rudy Van Gelder, Blue Note's celebrated and indeed legendary engineer, from the label's collection of RVG editions. Some of these cuts, such as Thelonious Monk's "Four in One" and Miles Davis' "Budo" from the Birth of the Cool sessions, were not originally engineered by Van Gelder -- however, he did reengineer them for CD reissue. On these selections he worked from the original lacquer discs, giving him the ability to reproduce sound far more faithfully than any previous CD or LP issue. This means that these versions are supposedly better mastered than even the RVG series. Other cuts he chose were Hank Mobley's "Remember," Freddie Hubbard's "Arietis," Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," Kenny Burrell's "Midnight Blue," Jimmy Smith's "See See Rider," Donald Byrd's "Christo Redentor," Art Blakey's killer read of "Moon River" from 1961, and Joe Henderson's mighty "Mode for Joe." Given the highly idiosyncratic picks of Van Gelder, this collection will have many jazzheads debating and musing over the contents. But it is likely only to be of interest to those who either need everything or have simply got to have the best in audio reproduction. In addition to the music, Blue Note has also included a bonus DVD that contains an interview with Van Gelder by Michael Cuscuna about the many artists he has worked with, personal reminiscences, and his own view of his legacy. ~ Thom Jurek

1 Four In One Thelonious Monk 3:31
2 Budo Miles Davis 2:35
3 Remember Hank Mobley 5:41
4 Arietis Freddie Hubbard 6:40
5 Midnight Blue Kenny Burrell 4:01
6 Mode for Joe Joe Henderson 8:03
7 Cristo Redentor Donald Byrd 5:43
8 Footprints Wayne Shorter 7:31
9 Moon River Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers 5:12
10 See See Rider Jimmy Smith 6:34

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wayne Shorter - Footprints Live! (2002)

This was Wayne Shorter's return to an acoustic jazz quartet.The saxophonist digs deep into his classic repertoire, unearthing compositions like Masqualero, Footprints and Juju from his great Blue Note discs of the 1960s and the slightly later Atlantis.
For the first time since the late 60s, since before In a Silent Way, before Weather Report - Shorter seemed interested in acoustic jazz again. The personnel was first rate; Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums are young but very experienced, each a leader in his own right.

This is Shorter's first live album, and it captures the intense creativity of a band on tour, that's played-in and enjoying each others company. This is a real quartet album, with each of the four playing at his best, and vital to its success.The music Shorter is making is both a throwback to the sixties years with Miles and that 2nd great quintet and also a futuristic meditation on musical abstractions. The way Wayne plays you never know what he is playing until you catch a glimpse of a familiar theme and then with the merry mischievousness of a two year old, as soon as you’ve got it, Shorter has moved on to something else.

1 Sanctuary
2 Masquelero
3 Valse triste (Jean Sibelius - arr. Wayne Shorter)
4 Go
5 Aung San Suu Kyi
6 Footprints
7 Atlantis
8 Juju

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Five Peace Band Live Disc 2

1 Dr. Jackle 22:53
2 SeƱor C.S. 20:15
3 In a Silent Way/It's About That Time 20:06
4 Someday My Prince Will Come 07:42

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chick Corea and John McLaughlin

Five Peace Band

Five Peace Band
Chick Corea and John McLaughlin are back on stage together! Forty years after their historic sessions with Miles Davis, they’ve assembled one of the most impressive jazz quintets in recent memory:

— Chick Corea, keyboards
— John McLaughlin, guitar
— Christian McBride, bass
— Kenny Garrett, alto sax
— Vinnie Colaiuta, drums

The masters behind Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra are ready to test the limits of electric music again. The double-album Five Peace Band Live captures the band on its European tour, pushing at the edges of plugged-in jazz. International praise for the live show was universal:

Recorded during their European tour last fall (2008), Five Peace Band Live features Corea and McLaughlin’s inspired duets as well as all five members negotiating the twists and turns of the compositions. The recording includes Vinnie Colaiuta – drums, Kenny Garrett – saxophone, Christian McBride – acoustic & electric basses, and Herbie Hancock special guests on the track “In a Silent Way / It’s About That Time.” The double-disc CD was initially made available early at performance venues as well as via the band’s website (

1 Raju 12:29
2 The Disguise 13:32
3 New Blues, Old Bruise 14:06
4 Hymn to Andromeda 27:45

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Herbie Hancock Box

Given that Blue Note Records has issued a definitive 1960s box set of Hancock's earliest -- and some consider his most seminal -- work, and the literally dozens of best-ofs that have been issued, more by Columbia than by anybody else, this set with its spare futuristic design might at first glance seem like overkill, as in, "do we really need another Herbie Hancock collection, especially a damned box set?" In this case, it's very important to take a second and even third look. For starters, this set is housed in a see-though plastic box, all four CDs clearly visible on spare individual trays. On a fifth tray rests the CD booklet. On the bottom of the box is a sticker identifying the contents within. In the booklet are complete liners by Herbie himself (actually, excepts from an interview by Chuck Mitchell), and gorgeous reproductions of the album covers. It's a cool coffee table conversation piece for hep cats and kitties who are into jazz -- or those who just like happening accoutrements in their living spaces. More substantial is that the material covered here encompasses a whopping 23 albums recorded over 13 years! There are 34 tracks spread out over these four discs, and while little here is completely unreleased, a number of cuts have never been made available in the States before. Lastly, given all of the Hancock material on the market, this set is the only one to capture the huge depth and breadth of Hancock's musically restless vision as it has been recorded. The discs are not presented in chronological order, and that, too, is in keeping with Hancock's modus operandi. Disc one starts with the first V.S.O.P. project from 1976, which was the Miles quintet with Freddie Hubbard playing all new tunes, so you hear the introduction to "Maiden Voyage" and the track itself. Next, it shifts to 1979 with Hancock's Live Under the Sky album, with a killer version of "Para Oriente," and then shifts yet again to the Piano album in 1978, where Hancock plays a "Harvest Time" solo before moving to "The Sorcerer" from the Quartet album of 1981. Before the disc has concluded, you've moved through more V.S.O.P., and the theme from the Round Midnight soundtrack. Disc two features more of these same treatments from the same periods generally, but features a killer version of V.S.O.P. going for broke on a completely unreleased version of Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" from 1977. Disc three is nearly worth the price of the box alone. This is where you get to explore the electric side of Hancock, and the various guises he worked under from the time he immediately left Miles and worked with some musicians who were totally outside his frame of reference. For instance, there is the glorious "Rain Dance" from 1972, with a large band that included trombonist Julian Priester, synthesist Patrick Gleeson, and drummer Billy Hart. Also, along with more well-known classics such as "Watermelon Man," from Head Hunters, you get tracks from Flood; Thrust; the killer Death Wish title theme with Wah Wah Watson and Lee Ritenour on guitars; "Sun Touch" from Man-Child, featuring the most beautiful flute solo ever played by Ernie Watts; Secrets; Sunlight; and the outstanding "4 a.m.," from the Mr. Hands album. This track, with a quartet that features the late Jaco Pastorius, Tony Williams, and percussionist Bill Summers, reveals the amazing depth of empathy Hancock had for the musicians he employed. His trading of lower runs with Jaco provides a listen to how tender Pastorius could be when presented with a keyboard player who was content to let him sing on the bass, and also how Hancock never has the need to dominate the proceedings, preferring to let the band speak for itself on his tunes. Disc four also features Hancock's more electric ventures. While the material ranges chronologically from "Chameleon" on Head Hunters to a Bill Laswell remake of "Maiden Voyage" in 1988, the sense of continuity that the rest of the box has doesn't seem to flow as easily. The rather jarring juxtapositions of "Stars in Your Eyes," from 1980, to "Rock It," in 1983, to "Calypso" from Mr. Hands in 1980, to "Nobu," in 1974, is too vast an expanse -- mood-wise as well as aesthetically -- to bridge. Perhaps it's the range of musicians that includes everyone from Ray Parker Jr. and Sheila E to Harvey Mason and Tony Williams, just to name a few. While the individual bands add up to pure delight, the track-to-track moves atmospheres, even in the funk-hip-hop worldview from bumpin' street funk to jagged, angular grooves, to near-overdriven bass, and timelines that obliterate continuity. In all, this is a small complaint; doubtless, many will use the random feature on a CD player to remedy this, or the programming feature. The Herbie Hancock Box does stand as a more than representative view of the musician's work with Columbia and reveals how lasting and influential his contributions have been, as well as how diverse, and that's really the point. Hours upon hours of pleasure await the listener who drops the cash for this fine artifact. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

The Herbie Hancock Box Disc 4

1 Chameleon 15:41
2 Stars in Your Eyes 07:04
3 Rockit 05:25
4 Calypso 06:43
5 Satisfied With Love 06:31
6 Karabali 05:15
7 Spider 07:21
8 Nobu 07:23
9 Maiden Voyager/B. Bop 06:33

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Herbie Hancock Box Disc 3

1 Rain Dance 09:17
2 Watermelon Man 06:29
3 Butterfly 11:18
4 Death Wish (Main Title) 06:11
5 Actual Proof 08:28
6 Sun Touch 05:09
7 4 A.M. 05:23
8 Come Running to Me 08:24
9 People Music 07:07

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Herbie Hancock Box Disc 2

1 Domo 12:24
2 Dolphin Dance 10:17
3 Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away) 08:52
4 Eighty-One 13:03
5 Milestones 06:39
6 Stella by Starlight/On Green Dolphin Street 07:05
7 Red Clay [#] 10:55

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Herbie Hancock Box Disc 1

1 Introduction to Maiden Voyage 04:33
2 Maiden Voyage 13:20
3 Para Oriente 07:16
4 Harvest Time 04:49
5 The Sorcerer 07:18
6 Diana 04:33
7 Finger Painting 06:44
8 'Round Midnight 05:36
9 The Eye of the Hurricane 18:31