From the monthly archives: "January 2015"

LuckyStrikesCover

This 1965 album, “Lucky Strikes” is probably Lucky Thompson’s most known album. A very interesting point that I would like to touch on about Lucky Thompson and have noticed many greats like him, is the under appreciation of his own talents. It seems that he, being a perfectionist, was never 100% satisfied with his playing and always questioned if he could have focused more on his performances. This strict self evaluating/critiquing is present in most great musicians and only helps them strive to greater heights. Its a thirst for more knowledge and experimentation that helps the great ones propel over the others. Its total devotion to their instrument and relentless practice that make them legends. This album is a perfect example as he perfects the art of playing both the tenor and soprano saxophones. Make sure you add this album to your library!

About the album:

Lucky Strikes album for sale by Lucky Thompson was released Jul 01, 1991 on the Original Jazz Classics label. Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley California). Lucky Strikes buy CD music This CD reissue serves as a perfect introduction to the talents of the underrated saxophonist Lucky Thompson. Lucky Strikes songs Heard on four songs apiece on tenor and soprano (he was one of the first bop-oriented soprano players), Thompson plays two standards and six originals in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Connie Kay. Lucky Strikes album for sale The playing time on this straight reissue of an earlier LP is a bit brief (just over 38 minutes), but the quality is quite high. Lucky Strikes CD music Thompson’s soprano solos in particular are quite memorable……Read More

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Biography of Lucky Thompson (By Jason Ankeny-AllMusic.com):

Born in Columbia, SC, on June 16, 1924, tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson bridged the gap between the physical dynamism of swing and the cerebral intricacies of bebop, emerging as one of his instrument’s foremost practitioners and a stylist par excellence. Eli Thompson’s lifelong nickname — the byproduct of a jersey, given him by his father, with the word “lucky” stitched across the chest — would prove bitterly inappropriate: when he was five, his mother died, and the remainder of his childhood, spent largely in Detroit, was devoted to helping raise his younger siblings. Thompson loved music, but without hope of acquiring an instrument of his own, he ran errands to earn enough money to purchase an instructional book on the saxophone, complete with fingering chart. He then carved imitation lines and keys into a broom handle, teaching himself to read music years before he ever played an actual sax. According to legend, Thompson finally received his own saxophone by accident — a delivery company mistakenly dropped one off at his home along with some furniture, and after graduating high school and working briefly as a barber, he signed on with Erskine Hawkins’ ‘Bama State Collegians, touring with the group until 1943, when he joined Lionel Hampton and settled in New York City.

Soon after his arrival in the Big Apple, Thompson was tapped to replace Ben Webster during his regular gig at the 52nd Street club the Three Deuces — Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Art Tatum were all in attendance at Thompson’s debut gig, and while he deemed the performance a disaster (a notorious perfectionist, he was rarely if ever pleased with his work), he nevertheless quickly earned the respect of his peers and became a club fixture. After a stint with bassist Slam Stewart, Thompson again toured with Hampton before joining singer Billy Eckstine’s short-lived big band that included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Blakey — in other words, the crucible of bebop. But although he played on some of the earliest and most influential bop dates, Thompson never fit squarely within the movement’s paradigm — his playing boasted an elegance and formal power all his own, with an emotional depth rare among the tenor greats of his generation. He joined the Count Basie Orchestra in late 1944, exiting the following year while in Los Angeles and remaining there until 1946, in the interim playing on and arranging a series of dates for the Exclusive label. Thompson returned to the road when Gillespie hired him to replace Parker in their epochal…..Read More

Here’s a detailed discography of Lucky Thompson

JazzInSilouetteCover

The Sun Ra Arkestra was an amazing band that didn’t have the same recognition as the other Jazz artists who were experimenting in the mid fifties. Some so-called Jazz fans didn’t take Sun Ra serious enough because of the interstellar approach that he and his Arkestra presented themselves. You can learn more about Sun Ra and his beliefs by doing a simple search, if you really care about his ideals. If you are open-minded and concentrate on his music, as most “True” Jazz fans do, then your focus would be more on the high quality arraignments Sun Ra produced and how he opened up more avenue to explore. This 1959 album, “Jazz in Silhouette” is a real masterpiece, get it, if you dare!

About the album:

A fascinating recording of Sun Ra and his Arkestra in an early incarnation, 1958’s JAZZ IN SILHOUETTE features Ra’s complex, adventurous compositions in traditional bop and swing contexts. The opening “Enlightenment” has edgy piano accompaniment from Ra, and a Cuban rhythm outro, but its breezy melody is reminiscent of Duke Ellington circa his Okeh period. “Blues at Midnight” is an up-tempo bop number with outstanding solos from all members of the Arkestra. Complex themes (“Saturn”) and fractured blues (“Horoscope”) show qualities integral to the style Ra would develop in the following years. In particular, the drawn-out ensemble explorations of “Ancient Aiethopia”–which are infused with tribal percussion, flute, and chant-like themes–serve as a blueprint for the artist’s signature sound. This album is an excellent, accessible introduction to the music of Sun Ra, ideal for those who may be intimidated by Ra’s more challenging later work. Now that his seminal, self-released Saturn albums are back in print, we thought we’d offer you this 1958 classic, which mixes the straight-ahead ( Enlightenment ) and spacey ( Ancient Aiethiopia ) as only the late Sun Ra could. “One of the most important jazz records since the war.” – Penguin Guide…..Read More

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Last Tuesday, I featured “Blues” Part One and where I gathered all the songs that specifically start with the word “Blues” and feature them on the “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation.” I couldn’t fit them all into the three hours, so here you have Part Two, enjoy!

Note: (The “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation broadcasts 3 Times every Tuesday): From 3AM to 6AM, from 12PM to 3PM and from 8PM to 11PM (All Times are New York EDT)

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Pepper Adams was a major part of Charles Mingus recordings, so he was given permission to record an album containing all Mingus tunes. This 1963 album was a tribute Mingus and was appropriately named “Pepper Adams Plays The Compositions Of Charlie Mingus.” Adams worked with Mingus in respect to which songs would be recorded. There’s much more to learn about this album in the descriptions below. Great album, enjoy!

About the album From FreshSounds.com:

The Charlie Mingus compositions that make up this album were carefully selected over a period of months by Mingus himself, Pepper Adams and Teddy Charles as being most representative of his music.

Recorded in New York in September 1963, they constitute an outstanding cross-section of passionate, unconfined jazz that runs from the blues, through ballads, and swing tunes on to more experimental sounds. Under the leadership of baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, who assembled a group of outstanding jazzmen, including Thad Jones, Zoot Sims, Hank Jones, Benny Powell, Paul Chambers, Bob Cranshaw and the Mingus alumni, Dannie Richmond and Charles McPherson, the playing is strong, driven by their intense and creative responses to these emotionally –and, at times, politically- charged Mingus compositions…..Learn More

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From AllMusic.com:

Pepper Adams’ Plays Charlie Mingus is a watershed album in Adams’ long career. For starters, Mingus himself had a hand in the selection of material for the dates, along with Adams and vibist Teddy Charles. Next, the two dates here, September 9 and 12, 1963, were recorded with two different bands. Most of the material was taped on the earlier date with an octet comprised of Adams, Mingus’ own drummer, Danny Richmond, bassist Paul Chambers, and Thad Jones on trumpet and his brother Hank on piano.

The latter date added Charles McPherson on alto, Zoot Sims on tenor, Bennie Powell on trombone, and had Bob Cranshaw replacing Chambers on bass. Adams’ read of “Fables of Faubus,” by the quintet with its loping, rather than careening, pace, was arranged by Thad Jones approved by the composer. Historically, it is also the first recording of the work without vocals. “Incarnation,” also by the quintet, was arranged by Adams. Hank Jones leads the band in the piece’s difficult rhythmic and harmonic structures, and he edges Adams and Thad Jones on in the front line; Pepper’s solo and fills are among the most moving and knotty of his career. Of the octet session, “Haitian Fight Song” is as furious as the composer’s, as Cranshaw’s bass drives the band inexhaustibly into the spirit of righteous indignation and rage at its heart. On “Better Git It in Your Soul,” Sims and Powell’s solos are full of gut-bucket funk and stride the R&B line with aplomb and plenty of grease. This is one of those must-own recordings for fans of Adams; but it is also for those who revere Mingus’ work, because, as radical as some of these interpretations are, they were not only sanctioned by, but delighted in by the composer.”

Thom Jurek -All Music Guide

JazzAndBlues

Jazz comes from the Blues and there’s no better indicator than Jazz tunes that start with the word “Blues.” That’s why I decided to gather all the songs that specifically start with the word “Blues” and feature them on this weeks “Super Tuesday Jazz Presentation.” This would only be “Part One” and next week I will prepare the second part and of course, without repeating any songs. I’m not 100 percent sure but from looking through the enormous Jazz Con Class Radio library, there will probably be a “Part Three.” I hope all the listeners will enjoy it and they probably will!

Note (3 Times every Tuesday): From 3AM to 6AM, from 12PM to 3PM and from 8PM to 11PM (All Times are New York EDT)

A very interesting article by Greg Tivis (GregTivis.com):

Jazz and Blues—Who Knew!

Jazz and blues are often referred to as cousins. Many believe jazz came out of the blues, or that jazz has its roots in the blues. Actually jazz and blues are like brothers, they grew up side by side.

By definition, blues is both a musical form and a music genre, while jazz is defined as a musical art form. The blues refers to both a certain type of chord progression and a genre built on this form. Jazz is much harder to define because its range is so broad, encompassing everything from late 19th century ragtime to modern fusion music.

Jazz and blues may have different definitions, but they have a lot in common. Both jazz and blues originated in the deep south around the end of the 19th century. The blues came out of the African-American communities, from their work songs, spirituals, field chants and hollers. The blues is characterized by its chord progression, the use of flattened or bent notes or “blue notes”, and its sad and melancholy lyrics.

In the beginning the blues was purely the music of the black people of the south, had several forms, and was generally played slow and sad. But by the twenties, due to the popularity of African-American blues singers like Bessie Smith, the 12 bar blues became the standard form of the blues and sub-genres like “jumpin’ blues” began to emerge. Since that time many hybrid forms of the blues have developed including rock blues and even punk blues.

Jazz came out of those same southern African-American communities at the same time, but was the result of the combining of African and European music. From the beginning jazz has always incorporated popular music of the time, and it is characterized by the use of blue notes, improvisation, syncopation, and what was coined the “swung note.” The term jazz encompasses early New Orleans Dixieland jazz, the big band music of the swing era, bebop, Latin jazz, fusion, acid jazz, funk, hip hop, and of course, the blues.

In the early part of the 20th century jazz and blues quickly spread up the Mississippi and all across the country and became the popular music of the day. Cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and New York City became hotbeds of jazz and blues. As these African-American creations became popular with the general population, writers began to put these previously unwritten songs down on paper.

With the invention of the phonograph, this great and original music was captured for all time and broadcast across the land through another new medium called radio. The rising popularity of jazz and blues and its subsequent off springs led us quite naturally to the big band era, and overnight hundreds of dance orchestras popped up all over the land. Thanks to jazz and blues the Golden Era of Big Band music flourished and America had found its own voice.

Today there are more musical genres in the U.S. than one can count, and many if not all have been influenced in one way or another by jazz and blues…….Learn More

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