Saturday, April 17, 2010

Clifford Jordan - Glass Bead Games

Clifford Jordan was a fine inside/outside player who somehow held his own with Eric Dolphy in the 1964 Charles Mingus Sextet. Jordan had his own sound on tenor almost from the start. He gigged around Chicago with Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, and some R&B groups before moving to New York in 1957. Jordan immediately made a strong impression, leading three albums for Blue Note (including a meeting with fellow tenor John Gilmore) and touring with Horace Silver (1957-1958), J.J. Johnson (1959-1960), Kenny Dorham (1961-1962), and Max Roach (1962-1964). After performing in Europe with Mingus and Dolphy, Jordan worked mostly as a leader but tended to be overlooked since he was not overly influential or a pacesetter in the avant-garde. A reliable player, Clifford Jordan toured Europe several times, was in a quartet headed by Cedar Walton in 1974-1975, and during his last years, led a big band. He recorded as a leader for Blue Note, Riverside, Jazzland, Atlantic (a little-known album of Leadbelly tunes), Vortex, Strata-East, Muse, SteepleChase, Criss Cross, Bee Hive, DIW, Milestone, and Mapleshade.

Glass Bead Games - Clifford Jordan

Powerful Paul Robeson
The Glass Bead Games
Prayer To The People
Cal Massey
John Coltrane
Eddie Harris
Alias Buster Henry
One For Amos

Monday, April 12, 2010

Charles Mingus - Passions Of A Man: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1956-1961)

The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1956-1961)

Disc 1 TT 61:38

1 Pithecanthropus Erectus 10:33
2 A Foggy Day 7:47 (George Gershwin)
3 Love Chant 14:56
4 Profile Of Jackie 3:07
5 Laura 4:52 (David Raskin)
6 When Your Lover Has Gone 2:27 (Einar Aaron Swan)
7 Just One Of Those Things 6:06 (Cole Porter)
8 Blue Greens 11:42 (Teddy Charles)

Disc 2 TT 56:21

1 The Clown 12:29
2 Passions Of A Woman Loved 9:43
3 Blue Cee 7:48
4 Tonight At Noon 5:58
5 Reincarnation Of A Lovebird 8:31
6 Haitian Fight Song 11:57

Disc 3 TT 70:20

1 E's Flat Ah's Flat Too 6:37
2 My Jelly Roll Sou 6:47
3 Tensions 6:27
4 Moanin '7:57
5 Cryin 'Blues 4:58
6 Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting 5:42
7 E's Flat Ah's Flat Too (Alternate Take) 7:16
8 My Jelly Roll Soul (Alternate Take) 11:51
9 Tensions (Alternate Take) 5:30
10 Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting (Alternate Take) 6:56

Disc 4 TT 71:40

1 Prayer For Passive Resistance 8:06
2 Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting 11:54
3 Folk Forms I 11:08
4 What Love? 13:34
5 I'll Remember April 13:39 (DePaul, Johnston, Raye)

Disc 5 TT 67:34

1 Devil Woman 9:38
2 Ecclusiastics 6:55
3 "Old" Blues For Walt's Torin 8:59
4 Peggy's Blue Skylight 9:42
5 Hog Callin 'Blues 7:26
6 Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me 5:38
7 Passions Of A Man 4:52
8 Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am 4:41
9 Invisible Lady 4:49
10 Eat That Chicken 4:36

Disc 6 TT app. 75:00

1 Charles Mingus interviewed by Nesuhi Ertegun 75:00

All compositions by Charles Mingus unless otherwise noted


Disc 1, 1-5:

Charles Mingus - bass
Jackie McLean - alto sax
J.R. Monterose - tenor sax
Mal Waldron - piano
Willie Jones - drums

Disc 1, 5-8:

Teddy Charles - vibes
Hall Overton - piano
Charles Mingus - bass
Ed Shaughnessy - drums

Disc 2

Charles Mingus - bass
Shafi Hadi (Curtis Porter) - tenor sax
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Wade Legge - piano
Dannie Richmond - drums
Jean Shepherd - improvised narration on 'The Clown'

Disc 3

Charles Mingus - bass
John Handy - alto sax
Jackie McLean - alto sax
Booker Ervin-tenor sax
Pepper Adams - baritone sax
Willie Dennis - trombone
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Horace Parlan - piano (except 1 and 7)
Mal Waldron - piano (on 1 and 7)

Disc 4

Charles Mingus - bass, piano (on 2,3)
Eric Dolphy - alto sax, bass clarinet (on 5)
Booker Ervin - tenor sax (on 1-5)
Ted Curson - trumpet
Bud Powell - piano (on 6)

Disc 5

Charles Mingus - piano, vocal
Roland Kirk - tenor sax, flute, siren, manzello, strich
Booker Ervin - tenor sax
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Doug Watkins - bass
Dannie Richmond - drums

Date and location

Disc 1, 1-5 January 30, 1956 Audio-Video Studios, New York City
Disc 1, 5-8 November 12, 1956 New York City
Disc 2, 1 February 13, 1957 Audio-Video Studios, New York City
Disc 2: 2-6 March 12, 1957 Atlantic Studios, New York City
Disc 3 February 4, 1959 Atlantic Studios, New York City
Disc 4 July 13, 1960 Antibes Jazz Festival, Juan-les-Pins, France
Disc 5 November 6, 1961 Atlantic Studios, New York City
Disc 6 late 1961/early 1962 Nesuhi Ertegun's office, Atlantic Records, New York City

Total time approx 400 minutes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eric Dolphy - Last Recordings (1993)

Live at Le Chat Qui Pêche, Paris, France, June 11, 1964. Released March 1, 1993.

Of the four tracks on this final Dolphy concert, only one, the 19-minute Springtime appears to have never been recorded for release. It starts off promisingly with Dolphy ululating on the clarinet. Visions of free jazz appear but soon the composition begins its middle-eastern tempo. It’s the empty desert at midnight and Dolphy’s clarinet wails uncomfortably but his trumpeter and saxophonist continue to stay with tradition giving Springtime its BeBop style.

Had Dolphy more time, perhaps he could have explained his new ideas. Both Donald Byrd and Nathan Davis actually make this music accessible and easy to listen to. They fill in the melody that Dolphy disregarded. The language of discomfort never connects because the pair are busy making everything sound harmonious. They were not alone in misunderstanding Dolphy.

Wikipedia has this comment from John Coltrane: “Although Coltrane’s quintets with Dolphy (including the Village Vanguard and Africa/Brass sessions) are now legendary, they provoked Down Beat magazine to brand Coltrane and Dolphy’s music as ‘anti-jazz’. Coltrane later said of this criticism: ‘they made it appear that we didn’t even know the first thing about music (…) it hurt me to see [Dolphy] get hurt in this thing’.”

The rest of the show contains Dolphy’s earlier compositions from 1960, all very traditional. These “last sessions” have been released several times before in Europe unofficially. They became widespread when CD bootlegs arrived.

01. Springtime
02. 2.45
03. GW
04. Serene

Eric Dolphy (as, bcl)
Donald Byrd (tr)
Nathan Davis (ts)
Jack Diéval (pno)
Jacques Hess (bass)
Franco Manzecchi (dr)
Jacky Bambou (congas on 2, 3)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Paul Bley Quintet - Live At The Hillcrest Club 1958


Ornette Coleman (alto sax)
Don Cherry (trumpet)
Paul Bley (piano)
Charlie Haden (bass)
Billy Higgins (drums)

Recorded: Los Angeles, CA, October 1958

Recorded during a club gig several months after the sessions for his first commercial recording as a leader (Something Else! on Contemporary Records), this track is a fascinating historical document of Coleman's experiments in stretching the parameters of conventional bebop-based jazz performance. It proves that in the case of Ornette, the origins of so-called free jazz represented more of an evolution than a revolution.

The group is the classic Coleman Quartet plus pianist Paul Bley, and here they explore a Charlie Parker line based on "Perdido" changes. They faithfully include Parker's original intro and tag, and though the horns play a wrong note in the second bar of the A sections, they play it with conviction and repeat it each time. Ornette's solo here should put to rest for good the accusations that he (a) discarded chord changes completely, and (b) couldn't play changes anyway. A striking feature of his solo is how much of Bird's language he used and how well he understood it. It reminds me of the parallel experience of noticing how much verbatim Lester Young was contained in Parker's early work.

Since this was obviously a bootleg recording done on less than ideal equipment, the sound leaves something to be desired, especially as it affects the piano, obviously not a vintage Steinway to begin with. Bley contributes an energetic solo that includes some angular a cappella passages, but it would have been interesting to hear his comping more clearly, as he has always been a player who can exert an enormous amount of harmonic and rhythmic influence over any group he plays in.

2.I Remember Harlem
3.Blessing, The