From the monthly archives: "December 2012"

PorgyAndBessPost

Kicking off the New Year doesn’t need to be so demanding in terms of excitement concerning the music you play. As one gets older and more experienced with life’s up and downs, a pleasant peacefulness becomes more of the choice of music to play during the New Year celebrations. I feel that one should just sit back and think back on the “Old Year” listening to great relaxing Jazz music and because of this, I have chosen to kickoff the New Year of 2013 (At Midnight) here on Jazz Con Class with Miles Davis’ “Porgy and Bess.” Remember, I’m located in New York City, so it either will be a New Year already for you or I will be ahead of you, sorry but there are somethings we cannot control and time is one of them. This album will be featured for a few weeks or so, then placed in the G4 Playlist, check out the play times on the Schedule link. A N D ……HAPPY NEW YEAR and THANK YOU!!

About the Album:

Of all Gil Evans’ orchestral scores for soulmate Miles Davis, PORGY AND BESS is his richest and most ambitious–a watershed of modern jazz harmony which served to secure Davis’ pop star stature and define his brooding mystique. Inevitably, even non-jazz listeners own a copy of PORGY AND BESS or SKETCHES OF SPAIN.

Like MILES AHEAD, Evans’ band on PORGY AND BESS de-emphasized the traditional reed section in favor of a tuba, three French horns, two flutes and two saxophones. The resulting chords and overtones are dark, alluring and mysterious. Thus the opening brass-cymbal bluster of “The Buzzard Song” gives way to a mid-eastern carpet of flutes and deep brass as Davis’ poignant trumpet speaks in split tones and yearning cadences, bursting with blues feeling; a tuba soon picks up the theme as muted trumpets are followed by tolling trombone/French horn chords.

Each of the thirteen sections contrast lush instrumental details with intimate trumpet arias (which suggest the profound influence of Billie Holiday, particularly over the eerie textures of “I Loves You Porgy”). Evans’ ability to orchestrate hypnotic call and response patterns with Davis, and his ability to layer multiple textures……Learn More

GumboCoverAlbum

This is a very rare 1963 album with a sort of twist. It contains 12 outstanding songs (1 through 12) with a creative combination of Booker Ervin and Pony Poindexter plus company. The final 4 songs excludes Poindexter altogether, with music recorded on a later date, 1964. The record company (Prestige) decided to add these unreleased 4 songs from a trio (Booker Ervin, Larry Young and Jerry Thomas) which really has no connection with the title of the album and with the theme, New Orleans. Nevertheless, “Gumbo” is a great album and all the Jazz Con Class listeners will definitely enjoy it! Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin joined alto and soprano saxophonist Pony Poindexter in 1963 on Gumbo, based around the sights and sounds of Poindexter’s birthplace, the Crescent City. Poindexter penned the majority of these compositions, providing them with evocative titles of the city: “Creole Girl,” “French Market,” and “Gumbo Filet.” Gumbo finds Ervin playing more straight-ahead than on his exploratory “Book” sessions, which he had begun recording under his name by this time. The rhythm section on the first 12 cuts include Gildo Mahones on piano, George Tucker on bass, and Jimmie Smith on drums…….Learn More

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More on Pony Poindexter:

One of the first bop-oriented jazz musicians to start doubling on soprano, Pony Poindexter should have been much better known during his lifetime. As with many saxophonists, the clarinet was his first instrument before switching to alto and tenor. Poindexter worked very early on with Sidney Desvigne in New Orleans (1940) and later attended the Candell Conservatory of Music in Oakland. He was with the 1947 Billy Eckstine Big Band and toured with Eckstine a few times during 1948-1950. Poindexter was based in the San Francisco Bay Area during much of his life, traveling a bit while with Lionel Hampton during 1951-1952. He worked steadily as both a sideman and a leader in local clubs throughout the 1950s. Neal Hefti, who was aware of Poindexter’s talents early on…..Learn More

JazzCrusadersAtTheLighthouse(1962)FeaturedPost

Wow! The more you hear this dynamic Jazz band play, the more you love them. I have featured them before, specifically “The Freedom Album” which was recorded “live” in 1966. This one of course, is live also and was recorded even earlier, in 1962. The name of this featured album is “The Jazz Crusaders at the Lighthouse” and is a real beauty! The extraordinary aspect of  the Jazz Crusaders and separates them from the others is their trombone lead style. Wayne Henderson is not a household name when it comes to Jazz greats but after hearing him, anyone in their right musical mind will immediately begin to match and compare him to the well known trombonists. Come to think about it, the Jazz Crusaders, as a whole could match up with any other band in the history of Jazz, Outstanding!! Check the schedule link for play times and enjoy, you will!!

About the Album:

Recorded in 1962, before Buster Williams joined the band, Victor Gaskin fills the bass chair here and is not credited on the front sleeve with the other members. The program for At the Lighthouse is a series of tunes mostly by the band’s members including the hard swinging hard bop of Wayne Henderson’s “Congolese Sermon,” Joe Sample’s fine “Weather Beat,” and Stix Hooper’s “Blues for Ramona.” There is also a fine read of Jackie McLean’s “Appointment in Ghana,” with its killer head, originally written for trumpet and alto, done beautifully here by Henderson’s tough trombone and…….Learn More

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Wayne “Trombone” Henderson Biography:

From his formative years in the Lone Star Republic (Texas) to his present international recording artist status, multi-instrumentalist and producer/composer Wayne Henderson is identified by his ebullient persona and scintillating trombone style. Without sounding rhapsodic, we’re also compelled to emphasize that Henderson’s effervescence, combined with the legendary Jazz Crusaders many smash hit-recordings, is in large part responsible for the cosmic success of these musical icons since the group’s inception in 1961.

More than forty-years ago, Wayne Henderson, along with childhood buddies Wilton Felder, Joe Sample, and Nesbert “Stix”¨ Hooper, formed the nucleus of the Jazz Crusaders/Crusaders. As a fledgling, attending Houston’s Phyllis Wheatley Jr. High School, the precocious Henderson took the lead in sculpting the group’s dazzling style into one that was ground breaking, with considerable eclectic overtones. By fusing elements of jazz, funk, soul, R&B, rock, Latin, and gospel, an iridescent sound emerged with such impact that a musical revolution was unearthed. As the quartet’s cornerstone, Henderson’s objective was to accentuate the straight-ahead (often restrained) jazz sound with other musical styles that, ironically, are the offspring of generic, or classic jazz. As a result of exposure to all of the above-mentioned forms while growing up, Henderson’s transcendent……Read More

UndercurrentFeaturedAlbumPost

Kenny Drew was another great Jazz pianist that just didn’t receive enough attention and so much can be said also for this real classic album, “Undercurrent.”  Drew was backed up by a tremendous lineup of top Jazz musicians of the time, 1960. Not to mention, there’s a DVD version of this album also. Kenny Drew sort of moved out of the limelight after this album by adventuring abroad and relocating to Copenhagen (Read biography below). Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

The only Blue Note recording under pianist Kenny Drew’s leadership and the last to be released under his name for a thirteen-year period, during which time the pianist would relocate to Europe, Undercurrent is a strong outing by the gifted pianist, composer and session leader. In the latter capacity, his job is greatly facilitated by a frontline of saxophonist Hank Mobley and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, whose instant compatibility had been established just weeks earlier on Mobley’s sterling Roll Call (Blue Note, 1960). Moreover, the rhythm team of bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes had become one of the more efficient power plants in jazz because of its nightly duties with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet during the same year as its best-selling At the Lighthouse (Riverside, 1960), which included the hit single “Sack O’ Woe.”

Undercurrent has nothing as viscerally infectious as the Adderley tune but is an admirable program of Drew originals, ranging from the modal, streaming title piece to the self-descriptive “Funk- Cosity,” a sort of fleshed-out variation on Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’.”Learn More

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Biography of Kenny Drew:

Kenny Drew was born in New York City in August of 1928. At the age of 5, he began studying classical piano with a private teacher and at 8, gave a recital. This early background is similar to that of Bud Powell, the man who later became his main inspiration as a jazz pianist. After digging Fats Waller, at 12, and then Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, Drew attended the High School of Music and Art. He was known as a hot boogie woogie player but passed through this phase before graduation.

Kenny’s first professional job was as accompanist at Pearl Primus’ dance school. At the same time, he

was alternating with Walter Bishop Jr. in a neighborhood band that included Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean and Art Taylor. In this period, he used to hang-out on 52nd Street to listen to Charlie Parker and Powell and began sitting in at various jam sessions around town.

In January of 1950, Drew made his first appearance on record, with Blue Note. Howard McGhee was the leader and the other featured soloists were Brew Moore and J.J. Johnson. One of the six sides released was “I’ll Remember April.” The label, in addition to stating “Howard McGhee’s All Stars”, further read, “Introducing Kenny Drew.”

Later, in 1953, Kenny made his first album as a leader. Again it was Blue Note who recorded him, this time in a trio with Curly Russell and Art Blakey. But Kenny opted to settle in Los Angeles for the next few years. There in 1955, he formed a quartet with the late Joe Maini, Leroy Vinnegar and Lawrence Marable…….Read More

TenorMadnessPost

This classic featured album was recorded in 1956 and can be used as a benchmark for those who have any crazy doubt about Sonny Rollins. The name of this album which I will be featuring is “Tenor Madness” and should be in every Jazz lover’s library. Sonny Rollins is accompanied by the already well known John Coltrane and successfully manufacture a historical work of art. Never was a title for a Jazz album so misleading, especially when there are two tenor saxophone players together. The expected and the norm would be intense dueling with a strong emphasis on competitiveness. The title of this album sure implies this but cannot be anymore than the opposite. Both Rollins and Coltrane work in perfect harmony and compromise each other impeccably with their distinct sounds. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

It’s interesting to contrast Sonny Rollins’ playing here, backed by the 1956 Miles Davis rhythm section, and his work with Ray Brown/Max Roach Incorporated. Certainly if Clifford Brown hadn’t died that summer in an auto wreck, Rollins and his PLUS FOUR teammates would have continued to rival the creative output of the heralded Davis Quintet.

Here, Rollins and special guest John Coltrane get right down to it on the classic riff “Tenor Madness.” Coltrane is still zeroing in on his sound, while Sonny has found his (for now). Coltrane chases the blue trains, the snakes and the wind on a fulminating solo, ending with a hint of “Stranger In Paradise.” Rollins replies coyly–his sense of space and phrasing more akin to Miles–painting with clouds, patiently elongating his line out of dozens of little melodic motifs, teasing Philly Joe until he busts, finishing with a counterpunching flurry of his own. As Coltrane and Rollins trade riffs and choruses, you can hear them commenting favorably on each others’ inventions until they’re practically one voice………Learn More

AmazingBudPowellVolOne

I will be featuring Bud Powell and his 1949 album “The Amazing Bud Powell – Vol. One.” The cover I placed there is the original cover, the one you see when you look to purchase is different. Bud Powell recorded Five volumes altogether under the same title.  Learn more below about this very important and most influential Jazz pianist. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

The first eight of the 15 tracks on this Blue Note disc come from 1949; here Bud Powell is at the height of his powers, and the band–Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter, and Roy Haynes–plays with an easy authority. Three takes of “Bouncing with Bud” are included, but the master take is the best. Bud’s solos are charged with struggle, light, and clarity. “Wail,” an up-tempo original based on the “Rhythm” changes, demonstrates the intellectuality and grace of Bud’s thought process. Listen to how the smooth inevitability of Fats Navarro’s solo is seamlessly followed by a rhythmically incisive Powell.

Bud’s presence is strong and compelling throughout. On “Dance of the Infidels,” you can hear him vocalizing behind his solos, and his playing on the manic “52nd Street Theme” is respectfully Monk-like. On the ballad “You Go to My Head” (a trio tune), his touch is infused with a light, yearning quality……Learn More

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Biography of Bud Powell and More:

Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell (September 27, 1924 – July 31, 1966) was a jazz pianist who was born and raised in Harlem, New York City. His greatest influences on his instrument were Thelonious Monk, who became his close friend, and Art Tatum. Along with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Powell was a key player in the development of bebop, and his virtuosity as a pianist led many to call him the Charlie Parker of the piano.

Early life

Powell’s father was a stride pianist.[1] Powell took to his father’s instrument and started to learn classical piano at age five from a teacher his father hired. By age ten, he had also showed interest in the jazz that could be heard all over the neighborhood. He first appeared in public at a rent party,[2] where he mimicked Fats Waller’s playing style. The first jazz composition that he mastered was James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout”.[3]

Bud’s older brother, William, played the trumpet, and by age fifteen, Bud was playing in his band. By this time, he had already had exposure to Art Tatum, whose overwhelmingly virtuosic technique Powell then set out to equal.[3] Bud’s younger brother, Richie, and his teenage friend Elmo Hope were also accomplished pianists who had significant careers…..Learn More

 

JazzConClassAndroidAppPost

I just finished publishing the Jazz Con Class Android App! It is available directly through the Google Play Store and of course, it’s FREE!  This App can be found directly and by itself, the listener does not need to download a radio app that hold thousands of radio stations that play all different genres, no way! Here’s the description of the App itself and found on the Google Play Store download page:

Welcome to Jazz Con Class! This is an Online Jazz Station. Broadcasting Live, High Quality Classic/Traditional Jazz 24Hrs/7Days. Designed on specialized playlists which stream concurrently with a schedule(changes every week). The schedule is specifically structured with a “Global” audience in mind, so the listeners could enjoy the music respectively in their time zone and when they are awake. Created for the preservation of a “Truly Improvised” musical art form known as JAZZ! Directed specifically towards those, Young and Old, who respect and acknowledge authentic, creative musicianship. Jazz Con Class gives “all” the listeners the advantage of an additional path/choice which envelops another opportunity to expand their range of musical knowledge. THANK YOU and ENJOY! Link Here

For more information and to keep up with the latest: http://jazzconclass.com/

Note: Working on the Mac App Store version, will be coming out within a month or so. I also want to thank Seattle Clouds for making it all possible. Keep updated on all Jazz Con Class App News/Upgrades, for Android/Apple over here.

There have been many combinations of Jazz musicians who have collaborated to make great albums, studio and/or live, this occurs very frequently with Jazz musicians. Its a great opportunity for them to interact and expand their talent even further. Not to mention, very challenging for them in an educational manner, since the improvisational nature of Jazz allows them to experiment with different sounds and techniques. These albums, which can be characterized as jam sessions, are the main reason why Jazz flourishes and only becomes better. I have put together a special playlist (Jazz presentation) on an incredible trumpet and tenor sax combination and which I feel, could possibly be the best ever! In my opinion, of course but I will make the effort and maybe I might just convince some of the listeners here on Jazz Con Class. Either way everyone will win! This dynamic dual consists of Lee Morgan (Trumpet) and Wayne Shorter (Tenor Sax). From 1959 they were playing together, thanks to Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers project. The name of the album they first jammed together was “Africaine” and will be where this special playlist begins but there will be much more, as they recorded mostly together as Jazz Messengers. When Wayne Shorter released his debut album, “Introducing Wayne Shorter” Lee Morgan was there to add his support. Morgan and Shorter worked together on two albums after leaving the Jazz Messengers and continued working on their own as band leaders, creating the highest quality of Jazz possible, constantly innovating and most of all, establishing themselves as music writers. Two great improvisors that compromised themselves perfectly, outstanding stuff! The Jazz Con Class listeners are really going to love this presentation, check the schedule link for play times, Enjoy!

Here’s a great video of them playing together:

CompleteLiveInAmsterdamCover

This album feature is considered to be a teaser but the Jazz Con Class listeners will still hear a full hour’s worth. The album’s official name is “Charles Mingus & Eric Dolphy Complete Live in Amsterdam” and is 1 hour and 31 minutes long in its entirety. Three songs of seven will be featured and for a few weeks. My suggestion is to purchase this Jazz collector’s edition, it is one of a kind. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

The complete long-unavailable concert by Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The concert appears here with the exact performance order for the first time ever on CD, including nearly three minutes of Mingus’ solo on “Fables of Faubus” that were absent from every previous CD issue.  This is the first preserved performance on their 1964 European tour, during which many performances were preserved, mostly by local radio……Read More

Here’s a video of “So Long Eric” (not the same concert):

Joe Henderson will be featured on Sunday December 2nd and Sunday December 9th, for a total of 6 hours and at all different times (2 Hour Presentations) so nobody will miss it. This music is from the albums in which he was the leader. He is featured in countless albums as sideman and with all the other greats. All Jazz fans should take a look at his discography here, impressive! Check the Schedule link for the times of these three presentations.

Biography of Joe Henderson:

The tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson was born on April 24, 1937 in a small city called Lima Ohio midway between Dayton and Toledo. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Lima in a family of 15 children where he was exposed to a variety of musical styles. By the time he was a high school student he was already arranging and writing music for the school band and other local outfits. It was in high school that a music teacher introduced him to the tenor saxophone. After graduation he enrolled first at the Kentucky State College to study music and then moved on to Wayne State University in

Detroit. There he had as classmates several future jazz greats such as Yusef Lateef and Donald Byrd. From 1960-1962 he enlisted in the US army where he led several small jazz groups and won first place in a musical competition and was sent on a tour to entertain the troops all over Japan and Europe where he met a few of the expatriate musicians.

Early career: the Blue Note years

After being discharged from the army he traveled to New York and sat in at Birdland with Dexter Gordon and other local musicians. During one of these sessions he was introduced to the trumpeter Kenny Dorham who was so impressed by his musicianship that he arranged for Joe Henderson’s first recording session as a leader with Blue Note Records……..Read More

This is the 3rd album featured here on Jazz Con Class recorded live from The Cafe Bohemia. A club that was located in Manhattan, New York and that only lasted for about two years. Such a short time but at a pivotal period of Jazz, when many greats were just beginning to emerge into the scene. They would stop by and sit in to get recognized. It was also a hangout for them and where they felt very comfortable. This is the first combination that Art Blakey assembled for his Jazz Messengers and the official name of this particular album simply was “Art Blakey and the Jazz messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Vol. One.” Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey (drums); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Horace Silver (piano); Doug Watkins (bass).

Recorded live at the Cafe Bohemia, New York, New York on November 23, 1955. Originally released on Bluenote (1507). Includes liner notes by Bob Blumenthal.

The Art Blakey/Horace Silver alliance that formed the Jazz Messengers in the ’50s kicked off one the greatest ensembles in the history of jazz. This first volume of a live set from the famous Cafe Bohemia in 1955 features one of the earliest line-ups with Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Hank Mobley (saxophone) and Doug Watkins (bass) along with Silver and Blakey. This is the pure, original Messengers sound that reflected the best of what became known as ’50s post-bop, also made popular by Miles Davis’ first great quintet of the same period. The grooves are swinging, the soloists are cool and the spirit of the blues is in the air……Learn More

More on Cafe Bohemia:

A June 13, 1956 Village Voice article describes the club’s origins as a jazz spot:

“First Birthday for Jazz Club That Started ‘by Accident’”

What Jimmy Garofolo, 42, knew about progressive jazz one year ago wouldn’t have filled a single bar – of music. What he’s learned since, however, was filling his bar – the Cafe Bohemia – every night last week, when the nightspot celebrated its first anniversary as a jazz club.

Seating only 100, the tiny Barrow Street club has become the only place in America with a policy of “progressive jazz only.”

“No rock ‘n roll, no vocalists, no big bands, no nuttin’ except small jazz combos,” Garofolo told The Voice Sunday [June 10, 1956]. “Once Birdland and Basin Street were the mecca of all true jazzmen; now a lot of them won’t go on the road until they’ve played the Bohemia, too. We’re a small place and we’ve given many a new outfit their first chance.”

Half a dozen LP record albums have been cut on the premises during the past 12 months, and their covers, along with others, line the walls in symmetrical rows. They include covers by the Bohemia’s two current stars – Miles Davis and Teddy Charles.

The fact that the Bohemia ever turned into a jazz club in the first place is almost accidental. Owner Garofolo, a lifelong Villager who lives across the street from his bar, explains: “For six years I tried to make the place pay, first as a bar and restaurant, then with girly shows, and then with various acts. One night I had to throw out a character who’d been drinking brandy alexanders without any money to pay for them. The next thing I knew, he was back offering to play a few weeks here to pay off his obligation – and because he wanted a regular home base from which to play when he was between engagements.

Guess Who? “Somebody told me his name was Charlie Parker and he was a saxophonist. I was pretty naive about jazz at the time and I didn’t know him from beans, but it turned out he was a big man in the jazz world.

“When I put out signs announcing he was going to play, I had a stream of people coming in wanting to know if the great Charley Parker was going to play here. It was the way they said ‘here’ that got me.”

The great Charley Parker never did get around to playing the Bohemia; he died before his engagement came up. But his prestige had done the trick – jazzophiles have jammed the place ever since.

 

Grant Green is not a household name but should be. An outstanding Jazz guitarist who never seemed to fit in with the more famous ones like Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Joe Pass, Django Reinart and so on. But he is considered to be one of the top 10 ever, have you ever heard of him. Many haven’t, so here is a 1964 album of his named “Solid.” It is considered a Hard Bop album but a mellow one and with the support a solid cast of all-stars. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

After his untimely death in 1979, Blue Note published a number of Grant Green’s previously unreleased ’60s recordings. One of these astounding sessions is SOLID, an energetic outing that finds Green leading a large ensemble, including Coltrane band members and Blue Note regulars. Green shows his mettle with fire and precision, his bright, clear tone cutting through the dense sonic backdrop.

The set consists of several intriguing tunes, opening with Duke Pearson’s intricate “Minor League,” a swinging epic that allows for some powerful blowing, while modal pioneer George Russell’s sizzling “Ezz-Thetic” is a fast-paced burner that stretches the group nearly to its limit and offers an engaging harmonic foundation. Green’s own “Grant’s Tune”….Read more 

More on Album:

Solid is a companion piece to the Grant Green classic Matador, recorded about a month later with the same rhythm section, and also not issued until 1979. Green is once again accompanied by the Coltrane supporting team of pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones, plus bassist Bob Cranshaw; this time, however, Green is also joined on the front line by James Spaulding on alto sax and Joe Henderson on tenor. Both saxophonists really seem to light a fire under the proceedings, for in comparison with the relatively subdued Matador, Solid is a bright, hard-charging affair. There’s a little modal jazz, but Solid’s repertoire is chiefly complex hard bop, full of challenging twists and turns that the players burn through with enthusiasm. Green didn’t tackle this kind of material — or play with this kind of group — very often, and it’s a treat to hear him do so on both counts. The compositions — highlighted by Duke Pearson’s “Minor League,” Henderson’s “The Kicker,”…….Read more 

Biography of Grant Green:

Although Grant Green recorded more than 100 albums, including 30 as the group leader, his career was overshadowed by more successful jazz guitarists, particularly Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Known for his clear, single-note, melodic style of playing with a pick, Green avoided the chords and octaves favored by his contemporaries and was renowned for his unique tone. He was a major force in the evolution of the guitar as a lead instrument and he influenced a generation of guitar players including Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and George Benson himself. Green always played to his audience, with a variety that ranged from straight-ahead jazz standards, bebop, soul, gospel, Latin, country-western, to funk. He covered the Beatles, James Brown, The Jackson 5, and Mozart. But whatever he played, his music remained rooted in the blues. Green played a green guitar, wore green suits, drove a green Cadillac, and his song and album titles often played on his name. During the 1990s Green was rediscovered and dubbed the father of “acid jazz” and his recordings reissued…..Learn More

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