From the monthly archives: "December 2014"

GeniusOfModernMusicVol1Cover

There really isn’t too much that I can add to the two descriptions below on each of both volumes. Here we have two albums that are a piece of music history, “Genius of Modern Music Vol. 1 was recorded as early as 1947 and “Genius of Modern Music Vol. 2” was recorded in 1952. There are many songs in these albums that were not released in any other Monk album, why you ask, great question! Every true Jazz fan and/or Jazz Aficionado should have these two Monk classics in their library, enjoy!

About the album Vol. 1:

The innovations of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk are often lumped together with those of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, as if his work was some kind of aesthetic footnote to their bebop revolution. In fact, this great composer established a parallel stream of modern jazz that is a universe unto itself. The music on these first Blue Note sessions is so brimming with joy and cosmic architecture, it’s difficult to believe people once viewed Thelonious Sphere Monk’s work as hopelesssly oblique. Born in Rocky Mount, NC on October 10, 1917, Monk was brought up in the San Juan Hill section of Manhattan. He began playing piano at eleven, and soon went on the road with a touring revivalist. Some writers have speculated that his acerbic voicings and angular melodic lines were influenced in part by traditional blues and church music (not to mention the rickety old upright pianos he encountered along the way). However, by the time his work was first documented with electric guitarist Charlie Christian, Monk was clearly emerging from the stride tradition of pianists such as James P. Johnson. By the time tenor saxophone patriarch Coleman Hawkins……Learn More

GeniusOfModernMusicVol2Cover

About Vol. 2:

The music of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk has always inspired profound devotion amongst the hippest fans and musicians. Swing ear stars such as Coleman Hawkins and Cootie Williams were among his earliest and most vocal admirers, while Monk’s influence on Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane (among others) was profound. As a result, his remarkable body of written work and recordings form an aesthetic cornerstone of modern jazz. And yet, because of the challenging nature of his music, his fabled personal eccentricities, and some trumped-up criminal charges which cost him his cabaret card (essentially denying him the opportunity to perform in any New York City establishment serving liquor, between 1951 and ’57), recognition and success were a long time coming for this American original. The works contained on GENIUS OF MODERN MUSIC, VOL. 2 are some of the most remarkable performances and compositions in the history of American music, featuring some of Monk’s greatest collaborations. With its bluesy outline, classic rhythmic breaks and superb melodic contours, “Straight No Chaser” has been a jazz standard since Monk first introduced it with this recording. Art Blakey’s animated 12-bar intro sets a perfect tempo with an implied triplet feeling, as Monk’s solo proceeds directly from Al McKibbon’s sturdy two-beat pulse and the drummer’s polyrhythmic proddings. Monk’s laid-back groove belies the fierce tension his rhythmic gamesmanship, percussive dissonances, pregnant pauses, horn-like phrases and bluesy bent tones impart. All Monk tunes are full of teasing interactive themes and startling structural contrasts. As an accompanist, Monk doesn’t simply feed vibraphone soloist Milt Jackson chordal backgrounds on the jagged “Criss Cross”–he enunciates a secondary theme of orchestral gravity. And few musicians are willing or able to take on the daunting melodic and rhythmic challenges……Learn More

ATDelightCover

Art Taylor was considered as one of the elite Jazz drummer of the 50’s and 60’s. This album is a real “Classic,” right from the first track (“Syeeda’s Song Flute”) you can hear its uniqueness and as only happens when an experience drummer is in charge, as in this case with Art Taylor calling the shots. As we have seen before this 1960 recording, drummers like Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke and Max Roach added another dimension to the output. In “A.T.’s Delight” Art Taylor has Cuban percussionist Carlos “Patato” Valdes providing his feedback with the conga, he appears in three of the six songs (“Epistrophy,” “Move” and “Cookoo and Fungi.” This album is rarely spoken about and for this reason I wrote this sort of reminder to the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners/readers. Enjoy!

About the album:

Despite being a mainstay on many a Prestige and Blue Note session in the 1950s and ’60s, jazz drummer Art Taylor didn’t get much of the spotlight. That makes albums like DELIGHT all the more valuable for lovers of the hard-bop drumming style (i.e., Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach). With the soulful tenor sax of Stanley Turrentine and the clean, spare swing of pianist Wynton Kelly coloring the ride……Read More

5ByMonkBy5Cover

Here’s an album that is not spoken about enough and could be considered as one of Monk’s finest. The title of this 1959 album, “5 by Monk by 5” is a very cool shortcut for Five Songs Composed By Monk and Played by a Quintet. Thad Jones (on Cornet) made this album stand alone from the others. The addition of a song that is rarely played on any medium, “Jackie-ing,” helps separate the album further, enjoy!!

About the album:

This is a Hybrid Super Audio CD playable on Super Audio CD players and regular CD players. The title of this 1959 album nicely mirrors some of what makes Thelonious Monk so magical. He took common, simple elements and made them resonate with his personality. (Note: the original five pieces have been expanded to seven with the inclusion of two alternate takes.) Monk brought Thad Jones on board for an extra harmonic line in the compositions, as well as his spirited soloing. “Jackie-ing,” named for his niece, opens the album like a national anthem being paraded through some country where we all ought to be living at least some of the time. And then 55 minutes later it all wraps up with “Ask Me Now”–surely one of the most beautiful pieces in jazz or any idiom. Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York on….Read More

KennyBurrellJohnColtraneCover

This album, “Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane,” was recorded on March 7, 1958, it was originally released on the New Jazz label as NJ 8276 in 1963, then reissued in 1967 on Prestige as PRLP 7532, with a different cover and retitled “The Kenny Burrell Quintet With John Coltrane.” This album is not just about Coltrane, as he doesn’t wonder off too much on his own. This is because the album is co-lead with Burrell, they share equal play. The supporting cast is another factor, you have Tommy Flanagan on Piano, Paul Chambers on Bass and Jimmy Cobb on Drums. This is an innovative album with a lot of character, a must-have!

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). During his final months with Miles Davis’ group, John Coltrane participated in a number of recording sessions for Prestige independently of Davis. This album is but one such recording. In 1958, when this recording was made, Coltrane may have been at his creative peak. During this period, his work began to transcend “bebop” and “cool,” anticipating even more modern developments in jazz-changes that would affect a whole generation of musicians. On KENNY BURRELL WITH JOHN COLTRANE, we hear the two jazz masters creating time-honored renditions of tunes such as “Why Was I Born,” a duet that highlights the musicians’ ability to not only savor each note, but to take a rather plaintive composition and develop it organically. Burrell, Coltrane, and company swing “Freight Trane” with great authority, thanks to the drumming acumen of Jimmy Cobb. On this tune, Coltrane uses a variety of sudden flourishes and lyrical lines, while Burrell comps……Read More

JimmyCobbImageBio

Jimmy Cobb biography:

Legendary jazz drummer, Jimmy Cobb, was born in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1929. A superb, mostly self-taught musician, Jimmy is the elder statesman of all of the incredible Miles Davis bands. Jimmy’s inspirational work with Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and Co. spanned 1957 until 1963, and included the masterpiece “Kind of Blue”, the most popular jazz recording in history. He also played on “Sketches of Spain”, Someday My Prince will Come”, “Live at Carnegie Hall, “Live at the Blackhawk”, “Porgy and Bess”, and many, many other watermark Miles Davis recordings.

The Miles recordings and live performances are not the only high points of Jimmy’s quiet, but truly outstanding career. Jimmy did his first recording with Earl Bostic. Known from an early age as a great accompanist, Jimmy played extensively with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, before joining Miles in 1957. Tony Williams took over the Miles drum chair in 1963 and Jimmy left Miles to continue to work with Miles’ rhythm section, Winton Kelly and Paul Chambers behind Wes Montgomery. In addition to several Winton Kelly Trio Albums, the three did albums with Kenny Burrell, and J.J. Johnson, among others, before disbanding in the late 60’s. Mr. Cobb then worked with Sarah Vaughn for 9 years. Jimmy then continued to freelance……Read more

NewportRebels

This album was recorded as result of a growing concern towards Jazz musicians and their exclusion from the annual Newport Jazz Festival. Charles Mingus and Max Roach felt that it was their duty to protest the 1960 annual event by way of setting up a rival concert of their own in Freebody Park which was adjacent to the main event. The festival went unrecorded but Candid producer, Nat Hentoff was able to gather many of the participants at a Studio in New York in November 1960 and re-create the event. The “Charles Mingus and the Newport Rebels” album was the result of the recording. Although its not live, it is arguably one of the greatest gathering of Jazz greats in the history of music. Look who showed up: Alto Saxophone – Eric Dolphy, Bass – Charles Mingus, John “Peck” Morrison Drums – Jo Jones, Max Roach, Piano – Kenny Dorham, Tommy Flanagan, Tenor Saxophone – Walter Benton, Trombone – Jimmy Knepper,  Julian Priester, Trumpet – Benny Bailey,  Booker Little, Roy Eldridge, Vocals – Abbey Lincoln.

About the album:

The famous Newport Jazz Festival was inaugurated in 1954 in Newport, Rhode Island. Nothing like this had been seen before in jazz. It quickly became a huge success attracting bigger and bigger crowds and with the success came problems and finally in 1960, the bubble burst. A resentment was felt towards the Festival by a significant number of jazz musicians, which resulted in the setting up a rival event.

Max Roach and Charles Mingus, both displaying great fortitude, decided to organise their own ‘Rebel Festival, adjacent to the main event in the vast Freebody Park….Learn More

1960NewportJazzProgram

Click on Image to read the whole program

Here’s a great article from Marc Myers (JazzWax Blog):

George Wein on the Rebel Festival

Most people are unaware that in 1960, Newport, R.I., hosted not one but two jazz festivals. There was the big one that had been produced by George Wein since 1954. And there was a smaller, alternative festival put on by Charles Mingus. But after the riot of July 2, 1960, the smaller concert series known as the Rebel Jazz Festival was all but forgotten in the flurry of headlines.In Burt Goldblatt’s book, Newport Jazz Festival, Lorraine Lorillard, freshly divorced from her husband by 1960 and forced off the Newport Jazz Festival board, is quoted on the origin of the Rebel Jazz Festival:

“In 1960, Nat Hentoff called me from New York and said that Charlie Mingus and Max Roach were fed up with the Festival. They said they didn’t believe in the idea of it. I went to Cliff Walk Manor and spoke to the owner, Nicholas Cannarozzi [about having an independent festival there with Mingus and Roach]. He was delighted with the idea and very cooperative. “It was a lovely setting, right beside the ocean. We were going to have this marvelous publicity. All these musicians sleeping in tents, the way it really should be, except that Charlie Mingus and Max Roach slept in the hotel. They were photographed putting their own stakes in for the tents. It was beautiful.”
“There was a lot of intrigue, and they were suspicious that I was really only crossing them and going back and forth to George [Wein]. That was ridiculous. I was suing George and the Festival [after being voted off the board]. I wasn’t about to jeopardize that.”……Learn More

JamminWithGeneAmmonsInHiFiCover

Here’s an amazing album featuring to saxophone masters together, a combination rarely recorded. We have Gene Ammons on tenor and Jackie McLean, joining together along with an top-notch supporting cast. This 1957 album consists of only four songs but they are all over 11:58 minutes long, so you can call it a “Jam Session.” “Jammin’ with Gene Ammons” is a great example of music in its highest quality! This band’s version of the classic jazz songs “Four” and “Pennies From Heaven” are very unique from the others. Outstanding album, that should be in every Jazz enthusiast’s music library.

About the album:

Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkley, California). JAMMIN’ IN HI FI finds Gene Ammons in a context familiar to many jazz players in the 1950’s–the Prestige Records jam session, where some ace musicians, most of whom were bandleaders as well, get together and get down on some familiar tunes. State the theme in unison, and wail. “Jug”–as Ammons was affectionately known–does just that on the opener “The Twister,” generating the kind of tenor-storm that blew from the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts. Hot on his heels are the Gillespie/Brown-style trumpet of Idrees Sulieman, the tart…..Read More

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