Posts by: "Jose Reyes"

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Ike Quebec had an up and down career, from a promising tenor saxophone player with high demand in the 40’s to a bad drug problem throughout the 50’s. Fortunately, he was able to break away from this killer addiction and make a brief comeback that started in 1959. In that year he recorded a compilation album consisting of 45’s that were sold for jukeboxes during that year, “From Hackensack to Englewood Cliffs.Then Alfred Lion (Head Bluenote Records) recorded another compilation album that consisted of those tunes and more 45’s ( they ranged from 1959 to 1962). © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationBoth of these albums were not released until the years 2000 and 2005, respectively. A pretty raw deal for the fans but was probably done because of this  November 1961 recording here, “Heavy Soul” which was released almost immediately in March of 1962. Not to mention, so called “Soul Jazz” was coming into its own and this recording featured the great Freddie Roach on the organ. Unfortunately Ike Quebec passed away 3 years later in 1965 from lung cancer. Ike Quebec never was able to get his due, as many older Jazz musicians will tell you that he was one of the greatest! More on Ike Quebec here.

More on this album (from Smallromanceblog.com):

Many times, we overlook and we miss some great voices and artists in all music genres. When that happens, it’s a mixed feeling. On one hand, we’re glad for the discovery. On the other, we feel sorry for the musician who never got recognition during his life, and only thanks to the internet and the world getting smaller – he get the respect he deserves. Ike Quebec is a good example for that…..Read More

Here’s a great article on/about Ike Quebec and mentions “Heavy Soul.” (from Burning Ambulance.com):

Every so often, something you’ve been taking for granted hits you in the forehead like a thrown mallet, and you spend the next little while walking around wondering what you could possibly have been thinking—or not thinking—your whole life. The awesomeness of the Blue Note Records catalog of the 1960s is the kind of thing that’s so impossible to dispute that you can start to take it for granted. You can start to not really hear the music anymore, because you can put any random disc on, and even if it’s slightly less mind-warpingly beautiful than other titles by the same artist—if it’s only better than anything else you’ve heard that month, rather than the kind of thing that sends you staggering into traffic like Kevin McCarthy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, pounding on strangers’ car hoods and demanding “Have you heard Lee Morgan‘s Search for the New Land? Have you fucking heard this album?”—even if it’s not that life-altering, it’s still great. But that much greatness, so readily available, can numb you. You can start to take it for granted. Which is when it’s time to dip into the dustier corners and pull out stuff you may not have paid much attention to before.

Ike Quebec is not really in the pantheon of Blue Note players of the 1960s. That’s partly because he died in the earliest days of 1963, before the label’s sudden infusion of creativity and new blood (think about all the dudes who made their Blue Note…….. Read More

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informaljazzpost

Straight forward Hard Bop Jazz, could be the meaning behind the informality in the title of the album. Or maybe it could be the list of legendary individualists who makeup this sextet, WOW! Its a great testament to the unselfish gratitude these specific Jazz artists had towards each other during this golden Jazz age of the 50’s. Its so clearly evident to me, time after time, when searching for recordings (albums and songs) through discographies. They were all associated with each other and in so many helpful ways. One very important attribute was the quality behind the improvising and the endless inventiveness. It seems that by supporting each other so strongly the competitive level rose but in a positive manner which in turn, increased their creative level. This 1956 album, “Informal Jazz” is a perfect example, get it and treasure it! Learn more about the Prestige Records label, great stuff to know!

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This is a marvelous “Live” recording among many from Thelonious Monk. This gem consists of two recording dates, recorded on October 31, and November 1, 1964. This album was issued twice, the first was “18 years” after, in 1982 and was then reissued as a double CD in 1998 with extra tracks (Complete Version.) The recording took place in a Los Angeles Jazz club named the “It Club” as the album cover clearly states and has a different album cover image in the reissue version. As for any information about this Jazz club, I have run into a wall, no details anywhere? This quartet is easily Monk’s favorite and most notable, you have Monk on Piano, Charlie Rouse on Tenor Sax, Larry Gales on Bass and Ben Riley on Drums, quite a “Tight” band! This album could be Monk’s best or close to it.

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More on album (1998 Reissue) (100 Greatest Jazz Albums.blogspot.com):

Thelonious Monk was one of Alfred Lion’s most difficult to launch performers at Blue Note. Sales of his albums were thin and did not improve much after he had left Blue Note for Riverside. Monk’s style and uncompromising approach was always going to be difficult to get across; a kind of lop sided stride piano infused with a deep blues commitment. A determination not to conform to accepted notions of polish and slickness of presentation. These were the hallmark’s of Monk’s take on jazz.

The French critics Charles and Comolli even want to say that Monk’s approach was a deliberate act of refusal. (“It’s well known that Monk’s creation seems to derive from refusal, from hard choices, and thus it resists all kinds of impulses, possibilities, openings, solutions: that special note is like a challenge to the other notes….. Monk’s music says more by saying less: the restrained, compressed……Read More

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What can I say about Sun Ra and his inventive arrangements? Absolutely BRILLIANT! As weird as Sun Ra has been personally portrayed, his musical genius is unmatched. There are only a few Jazz cats that can produce these incredible works of art! This 1956 recording was renamed to “Sun Song” and the album cover was changed in 1967 to the likes of the image above, here’s more information (from Wiki). A true Classic recording!

Here’s a great song from this album:

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Original Album Cover from the Transition Label

More on the album:

The late pianist/bandleader/composer Sun Ra was one of the earliest musicians to embrace the jazz avant-garde, and some credit him as being a point of origin for it. Be that it may, SUN SONG is one of the Ra’s earliest and most accessible albums. Recorded in the mid-1950s and consisting mostly of Ra originals, SUN features….Read More

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BlueMitchellSonny RedBaltimore1966

There are great recording surfacing as late as now and this is definitely one of them. It’s a LIVE 1966 performance from Blue Mitchell with Sonny Red and became available early in February of this year. This album, “Blue Mitchell & Sonny Red Baltimore 1966 (Uptown Records)” took place in Baltimore on March 20th and was part of the Left Bank Jazz Society, an infamous organization that hosted a great number of Jazz greats from 1966 to 1984 and eventually closed its doors in the 90’s, here’s more. To learn more of this specific concert and Left Bank Jazz Society read this very detailed post by Marc Myers. Blue Mitchell has a tremendous resume, from being part of great historical Jazz recording to leader of great ensembles, check his discography. Sonny Red’s was a legend himself, learn more here. I have been trying to find a list of all the “performances” they sponsored but all I have found as of right now is from 8/16/64 to 5/7/67. There were a total of 350 concerts and most of them recorded but not enough of them remastered and released. If I find out more about this mysterious Jazz Society I will add it here and vice versa, if you find out more, please add it on the comment section.

More on the Album:

Baltimore 1966 album for sale by Blue Mitchell / Sonny Red was released Mar 18, 2016 on the Uptown Records (R&B) label. Liner Note Author: Bob Blumenthal. Baltimore 1966 CD music contains a single disc with 6 songs.

Here’s a tune from this concert:

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LouTakesOffCover

Lou Donaldson was a big force in the “Hard Bop” movement which evolved directly from Bebop in the very early 50’s. He was very much established as a premier alto saxophone player by 1957 and when this album was recorded. He apparently was very up-to-date with the surprise launch of of the historic Russian Sputnik satellite mission and used it on the album cover. “Sweet Lou” was certainly taking off and recorded a ton of albums afterwards, here’s his discography.

More on the Album:

When Lou Donaldson emerged in the early 1950s, virtually every young alto-saxophonist sounded like a close relative of Charlie Parker. While Bird would always be an influence on him, Donaldson (who is still playing very well these days at age 82) had his own approach to playing jazz, and he quickly became instantly recognizable as a more soulful and bluesy player, one who was nicknamed “Sweet Lou.” Donaldson could always play bebop with the best but he also loves to caress ballads and to really dig deep….Read More

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Lou Donaldson’s Biography:

Jazz critics agree that “Sweet Poppa Lou” Donaldson is one of the greatest alto saxophonists of all time.  He began his career as a bandleader with Blue Note Records in 1952 and, already at age 25, he had found his sound, though it would continue to sweeten over the years — earning him his famed nickname –“Sweet Poppa Lou.”  He made a series of classic records for Blue Note in the 50’s, and takes pride in having showcased many musicians who made their first records as sidemen for him: Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Donald Byrd, Horace Parlan, and others.  After also making some excellent recordings for Cadet and Argo Records in the early 60s, Lou’s return to Blue Note in 1967 was marked by one of his most famous recordings, Alligator Boogaloo. Lou was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by North Carolina A & T University and a scholarship was established in his name that is awarded to the most gifted jazz musician at North Carolina A & T University each year. He was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, is an NEA Jazz Master — the nation’s highest honor in jazz, and is the recipient of countless other honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to jazz, America’s “classical music.”

Lou was born in Badin, North Carolina on November 1, 1926 — the second of 4 children born to father Andrew, a minister and graduate of Livingstone College, and mother, Lucy, graduate of Cheney University who was a teacher, music director and concert pianist who recognized Lou’s expert ear for music and introduced him to the clarinet. He matriculated to North Carolina A& T College at age 15 where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and joined the marching band playing clarinet. After being drafted into the US Navy in 1945, Lou played in the Great Lakes Navy Band where, when playing for dances, he would also play the alto saxophone. After going into Chicago several times, he heard of Charlie Parker and, after checking him out, decided that this was the style of playing he would make…..Read More

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SaturdayJazzShowLogoThis here is an announcement for the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners and just another example/reason why this Jazz broadcast is internationally known! I will be adding another time slot for the five-hour “Saturday Jazz Show” which airs on Saturdays, New York Time, that is. The new added time slot will be 2 A.M. and will run until 7 A.M. I know, not the most convenient time for New Yorkers and the better half of the United States but perfect for other countries on the other side of this planet, in which we all live on. This Jazz presentation will repeat afterwards at 1 P.M. and end at 6 P.M. New York Time. This is a big PLUS for the listeners, they will really enjoy the concoctions of real quality Jazz music that I assemble for them to enjoy. I try to tie them all up together in a sort of theme and for the specific reason of keeping the listeners preoccupied and entertained. I change the playlist every week so the listeners never get bored and disinterested. Checkout the Playlist main page and also checkout the Schedule link where these playlists live. I want to thank all the listeners of Jazz Con Class Radio who tune in regularly and share its existence with other that would be interested in the great art form of Jazz music. Although I have a great selection of classic/traditional Jazz broadcasting at 24 hours a day, it is still very challenging. The listeners are are gourmet Jazz lovers with a considerable amount knowledge concerning these legendary musicians. Very challenging indeed and sure keeps me aware and alert as well. High quality is in constant demand, so the broadcast must deliver the goods! Enjoy and if you have any feedback, you can either use the comment section below or send me a message here. Thank you for listening!

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LesterYoungCoolArticle

It was Lester Young who first coined the word “Cool” into the world of music and it sure caught on! It was Lester’s way to express his approval and/or his appreciation to a particular tune and/or a particular artist. “The Pres,” as Lestor Young was also known, worked very hard along with his fellow Jazz musicians to set a high bar for those who followed. They established a concrete/solid representation of the word “Cool” and made it stick! Its all about originality and creativity, those are the main components of being “Cool.” Jazz musicians set the standard and responsibly backed it up with their uncanny ability to play their instruments in their own unique style

The power of improvisation clearly separates a great musician from an ordinary good musician, there’s simply no place to hide. Jazz musicians are allowed to, or to be more exact, they are encouraged to play as they feel, in their own individual manner and with no time limit place upon them. As a result of this, you get a scenario where multiple “Cool” musicians are playing a particular tune together but improvising on their own terms and with no time restraint. Its amazing to hear all the improvising between the musicians, how they do it without stepping on each other. Of course for this to work, the musicians must have the discipline and the utmost respect for each other in order to freely orchestrate their own version of any particular song. Jazz music actually had a difficult time when it began, as music aficionados did not consider it to be original music. You see, the Jazz musicians would take a standard song and improvise it in their own manner. This type of performing a song is called a “Jam Session” and as we all know, Jazz musicians invented this form of playing. This is what Jazz music is all about, so if you are a newcomer, this is what you must understand. You must give it a chance and you will love it!

Here’s Miles Davis with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb , playing “All Blues.”:

A musical atmosphere of this magnitude puts enormous pressure on any musician involved, as they must be really talented to keep up. But in the same respect, if they are willing to adjust to a more free form technique of playing, then they will substantially improve to a point where they master their instrument to the fullest. The end result of recording music in a Jam Session styled manner is a “One-Time” unique version of a specific song and with no specific time restriction placed on it. This works as well for the listeners, as they are immensely rewarded with the highest quality of music, its a Win-Win situation! That’s what Jazz music brings to the table and no other genre of music can do so.

Here’s a great example of a “Live” recording that was made in 1964 by Charles Mingus and company:

What an honor to be exposed to such quality music, wow! Jazz musicians were very anti-establishment for the music industry and always will be. Listen to those Jazz “Cats” they’re playing a jam session and the song is 10 minutes long, lol! That’s why Jazz fanatics are so “Cool” themselves, they understand how privileged they are to have the opportunity to hear such innovative musicians. Not to mention, they can tell immediately how good a musician is because they heard the best! It doesn’t get any “Cooler” than this folks!

There is a troubling problem though and its having access to it. For this particular reason I started Jazz Con Class Radio, choose which way you would like to hear the broadcast and enjoy it!

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Although the word “Cool” has expanded outside of music, its level of gratification still remains “Cool.” By the way, “The Prez” also coined the words “Hip,” “Homeboy,” “Crib,” “Dig” and many more. Here’s more Jazz terminology which you probably use on a daily basis and probably were not aware of. Jazz is definitely the “Coolist!

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Here a  “COOL” tribute to Lester Young by Jamie Reid and with poetic justice: “Prez: A Homage to Lester Young.”  Order it from the publisher, Oolichan Books, more:

P.O. Box 2278 (250) 423-6113
Fernie, B.C. VOB 1M0 info@oolichan.com

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Here a great compilation album that contains three separate recordings, all featuring pianist Henri Renaud and from the Vogue Record Label. I purchased it through Amazon, check here.

There are 19 songs altogether, here’s the breakdown:

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Tracks 1-6 (The Roy Haynes Sextet):  Tracks 1 to 5 recorded in Paris on October 26, 1954
Track 6 recorded in Paris on October 28, 1954. One could get this album (Roy Haynes Modern Group) separately. It features Baritone Saxophone – Jay Cameron, Bass – Joe Benjamin, Drums – Roy Haynes, Guitar – Jimmy Gourley, Piano – Henri Renaud and on Tenor Saxophone – Barney Wilen. More on this album here.

Tracks 7-13 (The Rene Thomas Quintette): Recorded in Paris on May 5, 1954. Only the first seven tracks appear on this CD, you don’t get it all, sorry. You can get the whole album here (MP3, Euro). This album features,  Bass – Jean-Marie Ingrand, Drums – Jean-Louis Viale, Guitar – René Thomas, Piano – Henri Renaud, Trumpet – Buzz Gardner

Tracks 14-19 (Frank Foster Quartet): Recorded in Paris on April 4, 1954, here’s more on the album. The album features Frank Foster -Tenor, Henri Renaud – Piano, Jean-Louis Viale – Drums, Jean-Marie Ingrand – Bass.

Here are Liner Notes from the CD, translated into English:

ParisSessions1954AlbumExcerpt

By the way, if you are interested in purchasing the “Jazz On Vogue The Perfect Collection: 35 Original Albums,” check over here.

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TheConnectionReddMcGheeAlbums

“The Connection” was a  1959 Off-Broadway play (in New York City) that was produced by Jack Gelber. “The Connection” was very successful and unique because of the subject matter. It dealt with heroin addiction and the Jazz community. There were real professional Jazz musicians in the play itself (Freddie Redd – piano, Jackie McLean – alto saxophone, Michael Mattos – bass, Larry Ritchie – drums). Freddie Redd composed all the music and recorded an album in 1960 with the same musicians. In 1961 Howard McGhee recorded another version of this play and featured different musicians except for Freddie Redd, he remained behind the piano. The same exact songs were used (“Who Killed Cock Robin”, “Wigglin'”, “Music Forever,” “Time To Smile,” “(Theme for) Sister Salvation,” “Jim Dunn’s Dilemma,” “O.D. (Overdose)”  but arranged differently. Both albums are extraordinary.

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In 1962 Cecil Payne and Kenny Drew co-composed a new score for this play and it featured different songs.

Note: “The Connection” was translated into five languages and produced in ten nations.

In 1962 Shirley Clarke’s film “The Connection” was released, it can be purchased here. Check the trailer out:

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HappyNewYear

I want to thank all the listeners who have been listening to Jazz Con Class Radio from the beginning and all the new loyal listeners who have joined throughout the four years the station has existed. This year will be a challenging one for me financially because of all the rising costs to maintain the broadcast but I feel its my duty to keep traditional/classic Jazz alive. Have a Happy New Year and E N J O Y ! !

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It is known to many Jazz fans as the “Greatest Jazz Concert Ever,” true or false, you be the judge. It took place on May 15, 1953. at Toronto’s Massey Hall. “The Quintet” as they were nicknamed, consisted of Jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. If by some chance you are confused by the name “Charlie Chan” on the album cover, that’s actually Charlie Parker. He had to substitute his last name with “Chan” on the credits because he was bound by a recording contract with Mercury Records.

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A concert of this magnitude can create a sort of fixating effect on the listener because of the musicians involved, that’s for sure but more on Jazz fans with less amount of listening hours. The hard-core Jazz aficionados are not as easy to convince, in respect to the “coined” phrase associated the performance, “The Greatest Jazz Concert.” Their ears have had the pleasure of listening to many other, so called “Out of this world” performances. Best or not the best, it doesn’t really matter. More important than everything is that it was physically recorded. That’s a great historical achievement! Actually, it is precious! For this reason now, anybody can purchase and enjoy it! Charles Mingus had a big hand in the remastering process, he had possession of the original recording itself. It was done afterwards when he and Max Roach established Candid Records in 1960. ENJOY!

Note: Marc Myers (Jazz Wax Blog) has a great eyewitness account from someone who was actually there, very interesting!

Note 2: Read more about the saxophone which “Bird” played on throughout the concert> Learn about, the “Grafton” here.

Note 3: Here’s an interesting 60th anniversary review of this historical concert from Fernando’s blog, Salt Peanuts.

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LesterAndMilesInParis5960Post

This is the tale of two significant albums that are not mentioned enough and were recorded one year apart and in Paris. “Lester Young in Paris” was recorded in 1959 and Miles “Live in Paris” was done in 1960. The Lester young album is very significant in a very sad manner because it was his very last recording as you can see on the date it was completed here in this discography of the album. He died hours after arriving back to New York from Paris on March 15 (at the age of 49) and as mentioned here on his Wikipedia page, he was drinking heavy and hardly eating during the recording sessions. Nevertheless, his performance on this album was above average (as always). this is a great opportunity to own a piece of history but most importantly, a great gesture of honoring a man who literally captured the hearts of every listener with his saxophone. There will never be another Lester Young!

Miles “Live in Paris” album was recorded a few years after the famous 1958 Newport session, was simply overlooked and not to mention, a great opportunity to hear Miles alongside Sonny Stitt! So it is actually, a compilation 4-cd album of two separate recordings. To learn more about the Miles with Coltrane in Paris (on CD’s 1 and 2, March 21st) the readers here should take a look at this excellent post by Marc Myers on his blog Jazz Wax. If you are only interested in the Miles with Sonny Stitt (October 11th) then you can get it here. These are two great recordings that again, every Jazz collector should own. ENJOY!

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ScottInterviewwithHelene

Painting by Manny Fernandez

I along with my co-host Noal Cohen conducted an interview with Helen LaFaro-Fernandez, the sister of the famous Jazz bassist Scott Lafaro and the main subject of her book “Jade Visions.” This book is a biography of Scott LaFaro but with much more to offer because it is also written for musicians alike. Helene dedicated specific chapters on musical analysis with the help of Jeff Campbell and Phil Palombi. Phil was also present in this interview and provides the listeners with helpful insights on Scott Laforo’s innovative style. Altogether, it was a great introduction to “Jade Visions” and will help you understand how much of an impact Scott LaFaro had on Jazz in the little time he was on this planet. Scott Lafaro was only 25 years old when he died in an auto accident July 6, 1961. This interview was presented by yours truly, Jazz Con Class Radio and made possible by Blogtalkradio.com.

Check Out Music Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Classic Jazz Talk on BlogTalkRadio

More on the book (from Amazon.com):

Winner of the Best Book of 2009, Jazz Division, sponsored by AllAboutJazz-New York, 2009
Selected for “Best of the Best” from University Presses, ALA Annual Conference, 2010

Winner of the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz, 2010

“Fernandez’ insightful comments about her brother offer far more than jazz scholars have ever known about this significant and somewhat enigmatic figure in the history of jazz. All in all, a very complete portrait.”—Bill Milkowski, author of Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius

“LaFaro’s story is compelling not only because of his own prowess as a musician, but also due to the company he kept. How many musicians by their twenty-fifth year could say they had played with Benny Goodman, Ornette Coleman, Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, and Bill Evans? Only one. Scott LaFaro.”—Frank Alkyer, publisher, Down Beat

“Scott LaFaro was a true jazz innovator. His sound, sense of time and melodic invention blazed a trail for modern bassists and he was a beacon of light for those players who dreamed of more freedom within structure. Bill Evans once described Scott’s playing to me:  ‘He was really discovering something every night on the bandstand. He had all these ideas that were just bubbling up out of him. And he had a way of finding notes that were more fundamental than the fundamental.’ ” —Marc Johnson, bassist

“Scott LaFaro was a brilliant artist whose untimely death remains one of the great tragedies of jazz more than four decades later.”—Jed Eisenman, manager of the Village Vanguard jazz club

“Scotty was amazing. . . worked with all five fingers. . . ridiculously wonderful. . . most inventive.”—Dick Berk, drummer

“Scotty’s playing was the bible for bass players … Jimmy Blanton the old testament, Scotty, the new.”—Christian McBride, bassist

“It’s astonishing that [LaFaro’s] massive reputation is primarily based on a handful of albums that feature him in full flower: the four recorded with the Bill Evans Trio, two by Coleman and Jazz Abstractions, a Gunther Schuller recording. His work on these is so amazing, his facility on his instrument so fluid, his melodic ideas and group interplay concepts so advanced that they still reverberate today. Finally LaFaro has a worthy volume commensurate with his stature in music.”–AllAboutJazz.com……Learn More

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The Little GiantCover
Johnny Griffin was a short man in stature but his sound was big and loud! This is why he was known as the “Little Giant.” There was never a dull moment with his playing style, as he improvised constantly and in his own unique exciting manner, very impressive indeed! This particular album which was appropriately named “The Little Giant” was his six recording of a consistent career that spanned over 40 years and until the year 2000, check his discography here. This is a no-brainer, get it, ENJOY!

About the album:

A bit of an offbeat session for tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, The Little Giant features three originals by then-obscure pianist Norman Simmons, a reworking of the pop tune “Playmates,” Babs Gonzalez’s “Lonely One,” and the tenorist’s “63rd Street Theme.” Simmons’ arrangements for the three horns (which include trumpeter Blue Mitchell and trombonist Julian Priester) are colorful; the rhythm section (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath) is state of the art….Read More

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ShowcaseCover

This a great album that actually “showcases” Philly Jo Jones’ ability as a leader. “Show Case” was recorded in New York City on November 17 (tracks 1, 4 & 6-8) and November 18 (tracks 2, 3, 5 & 9), 1959, more here on Wikipedia. This is another great album that has slipped by the radar. Get a hold of it and enjoy it!

 

About the album:

This 1959 session from drummer Philly Joe Jones not only showcases his inimitable drumming skills, but also his ability to play the piano and compose music. For example, his self-penned ballad “Gwen” is performed here with great success. Not only is it a well-written tune, Jones’s piano playing on the track is dynamic and harmonically advanced.

Despite Jones’s versatility, his drumming is still the album’s main focus. For example, on “Joe’s Debut,” Jones takes a very lyrical solo, implying the tune’s melody at each turn, proving that drums can be colorful, melodic instruments. Further, Jones’s driving snare solo on “Minor Mode” really shows off his technical acumen; he displays some very fancy stick work here. The lush ballad “I’ll Never Be the Same” serves as the perfect counterpoint to the drum-set features. On this track, there is wonderful interplay between……Read More

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The “Saturday Jazz Show” is OFFICIAL! Besides the time consuming task of preparing a high quality FIVE Hour Jazz presentation, I also need to make sure that all the components (links) associated with this new show are properly linked together throughout the whole Jazz Con Class Radio Blog/Website. I alerted the listeners here and on Facebook with an “Unofficial” debut post last month but it was a sort of teaser SaturdayJazzShowPostto get all the listeners excited a little. Now it is definitely “OFFICIAL” as you can see with the official logo I created and placed here on this post the sidebar. It has link for all the Playlists link and has been it’s own standalone link also. It can also be found on the Schedule link. As I mentioned on that previous post, every Saturday will feature a fresh new playlist that I prepare ahead of time. You can say its a lot of work but it comes with the territory a person decides to own and broadcast a radio station. Its even more challenging when that person wants to broadcast the best music ever recorded! There must be a total devotion/sacrifice made to make sure it is interesting, entertaining and most importantly, educational. In this case here, with the new “Saturday Jazz Show,” I felt it was necessary for the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners to have a special Jazz presentations on weekends also, there was certainly a need for that. That’s not all fellow listeners, I am also thinking of featuring it twice during the day and for those who unfortunately miss part of the 5 hours and/or simply had no chance on the earlier time slot. This allows a second chance to enjoy the show, this is is fair and logical. For for now please and for the next few weeks, please patient if you cannot catch it. I will be starting the broadcast of this new playlist, the “Saturday Jazz Show,” on 1P.M New York Eastern Daylight Time and it will run until 6P.M. The Jazz Con Class Radio library is literally expanding every day and I have the potential of effortlessly preparing hundreds of 5 hour presentations without repeating a single song. I hope you enjoy this new Jazz show and all that Jazz Con Class has to offer!

Note: Learn of all the ways to enjoy Jazz Con Class Radio here

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Jazz-USACover

If you ask any Jazz expert, they will tell you that Sonny Criss was one of the best alto saxophonist ever. They will also tell you that he never received the credit that should have, that’s certainly true. They even argued that the reason why was because Sonny Criss never left the west coast and that is not true. Refusing to leave the west coast in the 50’s deprived many great Jazz musicians from exposure but that wasn’t the case with Sonny Cross. There were great albums recorded in the west coast in those days but they wouldn’t travel too far, the major Jazz record labels had more of a distribution range and that included Europe. It’s a crying shame but he’s not the only musician that was not totally appreciated until it was too late. “Jazz-USA” is a true classic but if you just became interested in Sonny Criss then buy the “Complete Imperial Sessions” which contains this album, Go Man!, and Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter. You can’t go wrong!

Great article about Sonny Criss (By Steven A. Cerra):

“ a piercing, passionate sound.”

– Mark Gardner

“I was playing with Sonny Criss and Hampton Hawes – a great Jazz pianist. … Sonny had such a great ear that he could hear something once and play it. …

Sonny Criss and I played together quite a while until I went to study with Joseph Cadaly [a first chair saxophonist at RKO Studies who taught reeds, harmony and solfège]. That’s when Sonny and I split up. He continued into progressive Jazz, and I went and studied.

When we split, he started going all up and down the Coast playing and going to Europe. But I don’t know, it just didn’t happen. He’d get records. People said he was great. They played his stuff. But it just didn’t happen for him, and I think that kind of disturbed him. Especially when you put your whole soul and your whole life and just wrap up everything into something and it doesn’t happen.

He was pioneering and when you’re pioneering, it’s kind of more difficult to get recognition …. You have to suffer when you’re a pioneer. So that’s what hap­pened, really, I think, with Sonny. He was just early.

– Cecil “Big Jay” McNeely, tenor saxophonist

Criss was a bop saxophonist, strongly influenced at first by Charlie Parker. But his mature style was more distinctive: he produced a warm, rich tone and a prominent vibrato that Par­ker lacked. He was capable of playing dazzling runs with such effortless grace that they never sounded ostentatious. An excel­lent jazz musician, through lack……Read More

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Here’s a great compilation 4-CD album on all the Gigi Gryce/Donald Byrd Jazz Lab sessions. “The Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce Complete Jazz Lab Sessions” is an all- in-one package of very forward-looking arrangements and played by legendary Jazz musicians. The description below will help you learn more about this Jazz collector’s dream which includes all the recorded formulas that were experimented on and released by Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce from their “Jazz Lab.” If you are further interested in “all” of Gigi Gryce remarkable work, then you should visit Noal Cohen’s Jazz Historical Website. Noal has also written a book about Gigi Gryce named “Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce.” This album is a must-have!

About this compilation album:

This four-disc collection contains all of the recordings of one of the most interesting jazz groups from the late ‘50s, the Jazz Lab, compiled here for the first time ever on one release. Co-led by Gigi Gryce and Donald Byrd, this set comprises the group’s five original studio albums (including all existing supplementary tunes and alternate takes from the sessions), presented here in their entirety and in chronological order. This edition also includes the Jazz Lab’s only known live performance, taped at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957. As a bonus, a complete Oscar Pettiford….Read More

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Jackie McLean and Co.” was recorded and released in 1957. As the description below explains, this Hard Bop album was an unusual one because it featured a fifth member and not the typical 4 man (Trumpet , Sax, Bass and Drums) combination. McLean added very young and talented Tuba player, Ray Draper which added a new sound to three of the five songs of this classic album, “Flickers,” “Help” and “Minor Dreams,” which Draper wrote for this album. Ray Draper recorded another album with McLean in this year, “Strange Blues” and shortly followed up with his own little splash soon after with a couple of albums of his own, learn more about him here. Jackie McLean was a true innovator and if you listen to as many recording of him as I have, leader or sideman, you’ll realize that he was always experimenting. He was always involved with “out of the box” type of recordings, it seems that he was on some sort of mission all the times. This really wasn’t out of the ordinary because most of the Jazz musicians of his era were very creative and surely had the superior “talent” to distinguish themselves from each other but also record together without disrupting one another. This is the very essence of Jazz and why it stands out from everything else. Jazz musicians have the freedom to experiment in an environment where improvising is encouraged.

About the album:

Although altoist Jackie McLean’s Prestige recordings of the 1950s are not as significant as his Blue Notes from the ’60s, he did record quite a bit of enjoyable hard bop material during this era. This CD is unusual for, in addition to a conventional quintet (with trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor), the young tuba player Ray Draper is heard on three of the five group originals. Draper played his instrument as part of the frontline rather than in the rhythm section and, even if he was not on the level of McLean and Hardman, he gives some needed color to this set. Waldron, who….Read More

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Today is the “debut” of the “Saturday Jazz Special.” I wanted to name it the Saturday Afternoon Special but since the listeners come from around the world, it wouldn’t be appropriate. But then again, it could be Sunday altogether in another country, for example the island of Japan and  where many tune-in to hear the Jazz Con Class Radio broadcast. I will provide the listeners with a fresh handcrafted playlist each and every Saturday from today and feature FIVE HOURS of the best Jazz I could offer. I might change the starting time every now and then to start a few hours earlier or later but for now it will begin on 1 PM New York EDT. This debut presentation does not make it “Official” yet but I will announce it load and clear as soon as it is completely integrated throughout the Blog/Website. Check the Schedule link on a weekly basis in case I make a time adjustment for this playlist or any other I feature. Here’s a link of the Playlists that broadcast on Jazz Con Class Radio, so you can become more familiar with them. I hope you enjoy this Unofficial debut and if you have any suggestions concerning the play selections, please email me through the Feedback link, ENJOY!

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