From the monthly archives: "October 2012"

Here’s a straight forward hard bop album “The Freedom Rider” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Recorded in 1961 and in the height of this extraordinary era. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

The title of the Jazz Messengers’ THE FREEDOM RIDER was inspired by civil rights protestors of the ’60s. The passion with which Blakey and his men play on this session is proof enough of the strong convictions at the heart of the struggles of the time. Indeed, the fire and emotion contained herein can be felt as well as heard. This session portrays the Messengers of the early ’60s (before the departure of Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons) in fine form.

The bulk of the compositions here are by Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan. Shorter’s swaggering “Tell It Like It Is” opens the set, fueled by Blakey’s signature shuffle beat. Later, his bouncing “El Toro” is a passionate………Learn More

Bobby Timmons’ Biography:

Bobby Timmons became so famous for the gospel and funky blues clichés in his solos and compositions that his skills as a Bud Powell-inspired bebop player have been long forgotten. After emerging from the Philadelphia jazz scene, Timmons worked with Kenny Dorham (1956), Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, and the Maynard Ferguson Big Band. He was partly responsible for the commercial success of both Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Cannonball Adderley’s Quintet. For Blakey (who he was with during 1958-1959), Timmons wrote the classic “Moanin’” and, after joining Adderley in 1959, his song “This Here” (followed later by “Dat Dere”) became a big hit; it is little wonder that Adderley was distressed when, in 1960, Timmons decided to return to the Jazz Messengers. “Dat Dere” particularly caught on……Learn More

The album “Evolution” is another great album and example of the beginnings of Avant-Garde. This album and the previous one that I featured, “Point of Departure” are very similar in their presentation but with more hard bop involved since Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan were involved. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

Album Detail:

Grachan Moncur III was (along with Roswell Rudd) the premier trombonist in the American 1960′s jazz avant-garde. Moncur’s style was of the times–gruff, mercurial, and urgent. Yet 1964′s EVOLUTION is one of those Blue Note albums where hard bop and the avant scene overlap. The lineup is a who’s-who of the label’s best: drummer Tony Williams, altoist Jackie McLean, and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, performers mostly known for straight-ahead styles but who also dipped into freer waters when called upon. EVOLUTION is all original Moncur compositions, which inspires these players to really push the envelope (especially McLean who always shone with the trombonist).

Biography of Grachan Moncur III:

Grachan Moncur III was born in New York City at Sydenham Hospital on June 3, 1937 into a musical family that included his Uncle Al Cooper, leader of the Savoy Sultans, and Grachan’s father, Grachan Brother Moncur II who played bass as a member of Savoy Sultans. His father also played with such notables as Billie Holiday, Diana Washington, and pianist Teddy Wilson among others.

Grachan’s early musical studies started at Laurinburg Institute under the musical direction of Frank H. McDuffie Jr. and Phillip Hilton, a very advanced trombonist and student. His trombone playing began with the all-state marching band and he eventually became a member of the jazz combo. He rapidly moved forward to become leader of the Laurinburg Jazz Septet, and musical director of Laurinburg’s traveling musical revue that included singers, dancers and a variety of talented performers.

After graduating from Laurinburg Institute he attended the Manhattan School of Music and the Juillard School of Music. While achieving academic training he also performed as leader and co-leader with various groups that included such stars Wayne Shorter, Gary Bartz, and Blue Mitchell along with jamming at jazz spots such as Birland, the Open Door; The Five spot; Turbo Billage; Cafe Bohemia and Count Basies. Grachan continued his career with fabulous Ray Charles Orchestra. He worked with the group from 1959 until 1961. At a Ray Charles show at the Apollo Theatre which included the Jazztet, Grachan’s outstanding solo performances were observed by Benny Golson and he was immediately recruited as the trombonist into the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet. He performed with the Jazztet until it disbanded in 1962.

This album was named “Point of Departure” appropriately as the Jazz Con Class listeners will immediately discover. It was recorded in 1963 and when the Avant-Garde era was not really present yet. Of course, “Free Jazz” did exist already by then and had a strong influence on Avant-Garde but was too experimental at the time. This album, along with a few others, was more of a benchmark and had a much stronger foothold. No, not a solid stamp really exist on how Avant-Garde Jazz should sound like but this here album does prove that it could be “organized.” Jazz thrives on improvisation, this is its main engine, its lifeline. But to separate one Jazz era from another, some sort of musical distinction between each other must exist and with its own identity. This particular album was a groundbreaking one and with the perfect combination of musicians to pull it off. The Jazz Con Class listeners here will get a better understanding of why it was named “Point of Departure.” It will be featured for a couple of weeks then placed in the “Avant-Garde” playlist afterwords. Check the schedule link for air times, enjoy!

About this Album:

Trying to describe Andrew Hill’s POINT OF DEPARTURE in words is like trying to explain the pictures made by a kaleidoscope–it’s impossible to be completely articulate about something so magically unique. Of course, with an assembled cast that includes Kenny Dorham, Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Richard Davis, and Tony Williams all in their creative prime, Hill would have been hard-pressed not to come up with a masterpiece of these proportions. The result is, indeed, a record that is a beacon of the New Thing movement, which was coming to the foreground in the early ’60s.

From oddly swinging cuts like “New Monastery” to the intricately mesmerizing “Flight 19,” Hill proves to be a both a pianist and composer of incomparable range as he and his legendary sidemen explore……Learn more

All the listeners of Jazz Con Class will enjoy this album feature of Joe Henderson as he gives you more of an insight of “his thing” and  let’s you make it “your thing” so it can be “Our Thing.” Great stuff, check the schedule link for the times it will be airing. This album will be featured for about two weeks and then placed in the Hard Bop playlist, Enjoy!

More on Album:

The partnership of Joe Henderson and Kenny Dorham yielded a handful of fine sessions for Blue Note in the early ’60s. Among them, OUR THING stands as a particularly excellent testament to their combined brilliance. Henderson’s second date as a leader, OUR THING is part of a triumvirate that includes his first Blue Note date, PAGE ONE, and Dorham’s UNA MAS, representing the best of the pair’s recorded output of the period. Also sitting in on the session is the eclectic pianist Andrew Hill, who would use Henderson and Dorham on his own landmark date POINT OF DEPARTURE……Learn More

Biography of Kenny Dorham:

Kenny was born into a musical family on August 30th, 1924 in Fairfield, Texas. At age 7, he began piano lessons, switching to trumpet while attending high school in Austin. His debut on the trumpet was with a dance band at Wiley College, where he studied pharmacy.

In 1942, he joined the army, becoming a member of their boxing team and in 1943, began working with trumpeter, Russell Jacquet, “Illinois” Jacquet’s older brother. He later moved to New York City, playing and singing with Dizzy Gillespie’s band, as well as other groups, including Billy Eckstine, Lionel Hampton, and Mercer Ellington. He earned the nickname “Quiet Kenny” due to his quiet, subdued sound, replacing Miles Davis in Charlie Parker’s group from 1948 to 1950…..Learn More

“Salt & Pepper” is a clear indicator of how talented Sonny Stitt was and is also another example of how long the Hard Bop era extended well into the early 60′s. It’s a energy loaded, straight forward album with a great cross-firing saxophone play by Stitt and Paul Gonsalves. Very enjoyable to hear them play together in a challenging but very supportive manner. Excellent drums and bass playing is necessary in order to keep up with the speed of these two giants and Milt Hinton (bass) along with Osie Johnson (drums) are right on cue. It sure doesn’t hurt either to have Hank Jones on the piano. Great stuff, check the schedule starting tomorrow Monday, October 15th for play times. It will be featured for a week or so and then place on the rotation, enjoy!

More on Album:

This 1963 Stitt-Gonsalves encounter should be better known than it is. Stitt, of course, was one of the most prolific recording artists in jazz (nine albums in 1963 alone!), while Gonsalves although heard widely with Duke Ellington infrequently recorded as a leader. On tenor, as on this track, Stitt combined Charlie Parker and Lester Young influences, whereas Gonsalves came more out of the Coleman Hawkins school, with a “modern” harmonic approach that once led Dizzy Gillespie to hire him. Their contrasting styles and combative natures make for absorbing listening on the spirited title cut.

The extended blues workout “Salt and Pepper” starts with the two tenors enthusiastically alternating fragments of the theme. Gonsalves then embarks on a solo that lasts a mere 13 choruses, just about half the 27 he so famously played with Ellington at Newport in 1956 during “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.” His phrases here are reminiscent of the memorable ones he played at Newport seven years earlier, as Osie Johnson maintains a driving beat similar to Sam Woodyard’s back then…….Learn More

Get yourself together and listen to this very interesting album that was recorded in December of 1960 and released in 1961. “Gettin’ Together” will be featured on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks, check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

More on the Album:

Gettin’ Together! album by Paul Gonsalves was released Jul 01, 1991 on the Original Jazz Classics label. Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Gettin’ Together! CD music contains a single disc with 8 songs.

The most easily available of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves’ infrequent sessions as a leader, this CD is a straight reissue of his original Jazzland LP. Gettin’ Together! songs Three songs (including two ballads) showcase Gonsalves in a quartet with pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Jimmy Cobb, while five other pieces add cornetist Nat Adderley……..Read More

Photograph: Copyright of Terry Cryer

About Paul Gonsalves:

Gonsalves first professional engagement was with the Sabby Lewis band in Boston. On leaving Lewis he played with Count Basie from 1946-49, was briefly with Dizzy Gillespie, and then joined Duke Ellington in 1950. Gonsalves remained with Ellington for the rest of his life, his occasional absences from the band resulting from his addiction to alcohol and narcotics. Like many other would-be Ellingtonian tenor players, Gonsalves began by learning Ben Webster’s “Cottontail” solo note for note, but quickly established his own distinctive style. The circumstance which made Gonsalves’ reputation was his appearance with Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, when his storming, 27-chorus bridge between the opening and closing sections of “Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue” helped to focus media attention on the band and provided the basis of Ellington’s “comeback”. ……Read More

Jason Robinson is one of the artists that will be featured

Jazz Con Class is introducing the new “Contemporary Playlist” for the listeners to enjoy. This playlist does contain new music by aspiring young artists and older established ones but the sound is traditional, so adding here alongside rest would be logical. Not to mention, it is necessary and imperative for the conservation of Classic Jazz music. In the ever changing world we live and with the overuse of music genres these artist remind and in turn, educate the confused or may I say, misinformed listeners, with a good doze of history. Great music never gets old and this is living proof. Either if you are a newbie listener who questions the direction music has taken the new generation or you are a music explorers with a big appetite of curiosity towards classic Jazz, then this playlist is for you. Jazz Con Class gives you a choice to enrich your mind with Jazz music. Remember, these are very talented musicians with many strenuous hours of practice. I will dedicate Saturdays to this new playlist as a great starting point, check the schedule link for play times. This “Contemporary Playlist” will be broken up into 2, two-hour sets. As of right now, you will be listening to Jason Robinson, Gabriele Orsi, Myron Walden, Christian McBride, Gary Barth and Tatum Greenblatt. If there is anybody else who would like to be added to the “Contemporary Playlist” please contact me in the Feedback link. ENJOY!

This is an outstanding album and even more impressive, it’s live! Talk about a great Jazz bands flying under the radar, the Jazz Crusaders are basically known to dedicated Jazz fans only. That’s why it is being featured here and of course, so the Jazz Con Class listeners can learn more about them. The name of the album is “The Festival Album” and will be featured here for a couple of weeks, then released into the G4 playlist and where mostly live compilations and concerts can be found. Check the Schedule link for play times. Great stuff, ENJOY!

More on the Album:

The Festival Album was the only live set by the Jazz Crusaders not recorded at the Lighthouse. As such, it is a compilation of performances recorded at the Pacific Jazz and Newport Festivals in 1966. The band had two different bass players during these gigs: Jimmy Bond was at the Newport Festival, while Herbie Lewis joined for the Pacific Jazz Festival. The band was well established everywhere but in New York, bewilderingly, and had recorded a dozen records, all of which were popular. And it’s easy to see why. The version of Ken Cox’s “Trance Dance” that opens the set showcases all of the band’s strengths: solid hard bop chops and arrangements with a deep accent on the blues as it was emerging into soul-jazz. Soloists Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson, and Wilton Felder are all in fine form here. The deep groove on “Summer’s Madness” by the trio is actually the signature piece of the Jazz Crusaders’ sound at the time. Sample’s “Freedom Sound,” from the Pacific Jazz gig, illustrates the deep lyricism at the heart of the band’s front line…..Learn More

More on The Jazz Crusaders:

In 1960, following the demise of a few short-lived Houston-based groups called The Swingsters and the Nite Hawks, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, saxophonist Wilton Felder and trombonist Wayne Henderson relocated to Los Angeles, CA. After changing their name to “The Jazz Crusaders,” the group signed with Pacific Jazz Records, where they would remain throughout the 1960s. Employing a two-manned front-line horn section (trombone and tenor saxophone), the group’s sound was rooted in hard bop, with an emphasis on R&Band soul.

The group shortened their name to “The Crusaders” in 1971, and adopted a jazz-funk style. They also incorporated the electric bass and electric guitar into their music. Bass guitarist Robert “Pops” Popwell and guitarist Larry Carlton joined the band, and featured on the group’s albums throughout most of the 1970s. With this new style came increased crossover appeal, and the group’s recordings started to appear on the Billboard pop charts. The height of the group’s commercial success came with 1979′s Street Life, with Randy Crawford as featuring singer, which peaked at No. 18 on the pop album charts and the title track from the album made the Top 10 on the R&B chart and No. 36 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart……Read More

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